Friday, October 12, 2007

Get well fast: Store clinics both a symptom, solution | - Houston Chronicle

Get well fast: Store clinics both a symptom, solution | - Houston Chronicle: "The clinics' most lasting impact, ironically, could be the change they are forcing on mainstream medicine. Cheap and accessible, they do a public service by diverting patients with minor problems — a rash, a prescription needing a refill — from overburdened emergency rooms. Pressured by the competition, some doctors are also starting to keep offices open later, and reserving appointment times each day for walk-ins. The clinics also use electronic medical records, a thrifty and responsible system that lets health care providers easily share patient data. Doctors have balked at this upgrade for years. Now the market may goad them into it. The quick-clinic model is flourishing for one legitimate reason: Its prices and availability serve a yawning need. Rather than fighting it, physicians and policymakers should ensure these clinics are reliable contributors to our health system. And they should take a hint from the clinics' brilliant responsiveness to patient needs."

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