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Convenient care clinics (CCCs) are health care clinics located in retail stores, supermarkets and pharmacies that treat uncomplicated minor illnesses and provide preventative health care services. They are sometimes called “retail-based clinics” or "walk-in medical clinics." CCCs are usually staffed by nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs). Some CCCs, however, are staffed by physicians.


Currently, there are over 1,000 CCCs located throughout the United Statesmarker. Most CCCs are open seven days a week – twelve hours a day during the workweek and eight hours a day on the weekend. Because CCCs are such a new development, only a small percentage of Americans have received health care in a CCC setting. It is estimated, however, that the number of CCCs will increase dramatically in the near future.
The 2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers, from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, finds the appetite for retail medical clinics is real, and growing, and the potential for future success substantial. The following statistics demonstrate the increase in consumer interest in retail clinics.
  • More than 1 in 3 consumers surveyed are receptive to the idea of using retail clinics
  • 1 in 6 already have
  • Interest in retail clinics is especially high among "baby boomers", with nearly 38 percent saying they would use a retail clinic
  • By generation, seniors are the least likely and "millennials" are the most likely to use a retail clinic

The survey says that these clinics are particularly popular among those who are identified as:
  • Being in better-than-average health
  • More distrustful of hospitals and doctors
  • More likely to be suspicious of the medications that hospitals and doctors prescribe

A major driver of the walk-in clinic growth trend is the focus on cost. As more patients with higher deductibles seek out care options, the reduced cost of retail settings is a viable option for routine care. For example, according to one analyis, the typical cost of diagnosing an earache was $59 at a retail or walk-in provider, $95 in doctor's office, $135 at urgent care, $184 in an emergency room.

Services Provided

Most CCCs treat adults and children over the age of 18 months. CCCs treat common family illnesses, such as:

CCCs also provide preventative care, including health screenings, vaccinations, and physical exams. They may serve as sample collection points for blood, urine and feces for laboratory tests, which are then sent to external labs.

By definition, CCCs offer a more narrow range of services (usually limited to 25 - 30 of the most common diagnoses) than are offered in traditional primary care offices. This limited scope of services is seen in both nurse practitioner and physician-staffed CCCs, and is an integral part of the CCC model.

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in Convenient Care Clinics

CCCs are usually staffed by Nurse Practitioners (NPs) or other advanced practice nurses. Some CCCs are staffed by Physician Assistants (PAs).

Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education and training who provide a broad scope of health care services. NPs engage in health promotion, patient evaluation, treatment, diagnosis, education, counseling, case management and coordination of care. One study found that patients of advanced practice nurses had similar outcomes to patients of primary care physicians.

Physician Assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine under physician supervision. With appropriate training and supervision, PAs can provide health care that is similar in quality to that of a primary care physician.



External links

See also

Advanced Practice Nurse

Nurse Practitioner


Physician Assistant

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