Walgreens plans to open primary care practices in its stores and CVS’ similar announcement that it would be remaking hundreds of their stores to include primary care clinics reflects the nation’s growing need for health care access.
“We want to remove as many barriers and obstacles to healthcare as we can while offering high-quality, trusted care,” said Jeffrey Dorbett, D.O., a primary care physician with VillageMD, which is partnering with Walgreens in opening the in-store clinics.
Clinics in retail pharmacies also highlight our growing need for primary care physicians and the many opportunities there are for specialists who want to retrain and practice in primary care.
Health care services in drug stores is not a passing trend. A 2020 J.D. Power study found that consumers are using and appreciating the expansion of primary care services into pharmacies. The study found that 48% of retail pharmacy customers used at least one health and wellness service at a pharmacy in 2020 — up 5% from the previous year. Importantly, customers who used those services reported more satisfaction with the pharmacy than those who did not.
While it’s not clear if the expansion of primary care clinics in drugstores will always include a role for primary care physicians, it is a trend worth watching for physicians looking to retrain and reenter practice as primary care physicians.
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