1. Henske, Lauren A. ANP, MSN

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Due to access to care and societal demands, the face of healthcare delivery is changing, and the consumer-driven market of business has now reached the healthcare arena. This new, rapidly developing model of care, the retail health clinic or convenient care clinic (CCC), uses NP expertise to treat ambulatory conditions in a timely manner, with far less costs than conventional settings. While consumer response and clinical evidence thus far point to CCC satisfaction and quality care, there are groups who dispute this development and are pushing for the retail-clinic movement to end. These issues, as well as the impact and future of the retail-based clinic, will be further discussed in future editions of this column.


CCC structure

The Convenient Care Association (CCA), an organization that includes more than a dozen retail-based companies, mandates that member clinics be in full compliance with all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations and standards.1


The majority of clinics accept patients 18 months old and up, depending on the presenting condition, and continue throughout the lifespan. Most clinics are open 7 days a week, with varying hours of operation. No appointments are made and patients are seen on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each patient visit generally lasts about 15 to 25 minutes, but this is not mandated.2 Clinics do limit their services to ambulatory conditions ranging from a small list of diagnoses such as the flu, strep throat, and ear or bladder infections, to wellness and prevention services including vaccinations and cholesterol and diabetes screenings. Most clinics prominently post a list of conditions that can be treated. The NP ultimately decides which diagnosis and treatment, if any, is the most appropriate for each case. The range of services provided in a timely manner and at a relatively low cost make the CCC concept appealing to many.3


The NP's role in the CCC

The number of NPs is growing considerably; there are over 141,000 in the United States, of which approximately 35% are practicing family nurse practitioners.2


The majority of NPs working in retail-based clinics are employed by the company that owns the clinic. CCCs appeal to NPs because they offer professional opportunities, roles, and autonomy unmatched in most office-based settings.4 Many NPs are intrigued with the concept and have begun seeking careers in this new nurse-managed model of care.


Typically, primary care nurse-managed health centers are run by NPs and provide a blended variety of primary care services, health promotion, and disease prevention.5 The NP in a retail-based clinic offers similar care. On a day-to-day basis, many clinics are directly managed by one NP. The role is vast and includes diagnosing and treating common family illnesses, patient education, health promotion and prevention, and referrals2 in addition to patient sign-in, the collection of insurance information, and payment at the end of the visit.3 With the combination of advanced education, nursing background, and compassion many in the field possess, the NP is the ideal clinician to provide the needed range of services offered in the CCC.




1. Maybin J. Just walk in-convenient care has arrived. Medicare Patient Manage. 2007:14-21. [Context Link]


2. Hansen-Turton T, Ryan S, Miller K, et al. Convenient care clinics: the future of accessible health care. [Context Link]


3. Dembrow M. Retail-based care: a new way to practice. Clinical Advisor. July 2007:33-38. [Context Link]


4. Nelson R. Retail health clinics on the rise. Am J Nurse. 2007;107(7):25-26. [Context Link]


5. Hansen-Turton T, Miller ME. Nurses and nurse-managed health centers fill healthcare gaps. Pa Nurse. 2006;61(2):18. [Context Link]