“Fragmentation and unaccountable silos of care are in direct opposition to achieving continuous whole-person care with improved health outcomes for both the individual and society” [3].

Indeed, many family doctors see urgent care and other retail quick-care outlets as antithetical to the main tenets of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), a team-based, comprehensive model of primary care espoused by AAFP and other leading physician organizations.


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But don’t try to tell this to physicians who work in urgent care. They care daily for patients unable to get primary care appointments, and they’ve found a better work-life balance in the urgent care setting.

“Working in an urgent care center allows me to treat a wide variety of patients and conditions on a daily basis, making each work day unique and unpredictable,” said Dr. Sean McNeeley MD, treasurer of UCAOA and president of the Urgent Care College of Physicians (UCCOP).

“As the industry pushes for value in healthcare, urgent care centers are at the forefront of driving change toward affordable, convenient care for a variety of patients. I find this very exciting and challenging.”

“Urgent care centers operate during nontraditional hours and allow me to build my schedule outside of a typical 9:00-5:00 workday. I am able to meet the needs of my patients with flexible hours and affordable care, and not all providers can say the same.”

One thing is clear: As our healthcare delivery system continues to evolve, increasing attention will be paid not only to consumers’ needs but to their satisfaction with the care they receive. This is especially true as more and more patients pour into our already overloaded healthcare system.

“The customer is always right,” according to the well-worn adage. And it may well be the customer—i.e., our customer, the patient—who determines where, when and how care is delivered in the future…much to the chagrin of those who hold a more traditional view of medicine.

References

1. Walgreens Fact Sheet. Walgreens.com. Available at: http://news.walgreens.com/fact-sheets/about-walgreens/. Accessed November 14, 2016.

2. Facts and figures about CVS Health. CVSHealth.com. Available at: https://cvshealth.com/about/facts-and-company-information. Accessed November 14, 2016.

3. AAFP Policy on Retail Clinics. AAFP. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/about/ policies/all/retail-clinics.html. Accessed November 14, 2016.

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