NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

MINUTECLINIC SCORES HIGH MARKS ON QUALITY MEASURES

November 28, 2006

Early evidence from Minnesota shows MinuteClinic, a non-traditional health clinic found in retail stores, can provide a high level of quality for routine care at significantly lower costs.  Scoring relatively high marks for health care quality is an encouraging sign for an increasingly consumer-directed health care system.

These innovative clinics provide a valuable service and promote transparency by competing on price while maintaining quality. If traditional physician practices want to compete, they will have to change the way they do business.  A good start would be clearly disclosing prices, extending office hours and offering more convenience to their customers.

According to the Minnesota Community Measurement Health Care Quality Report, MinuteClinic received high marks for quality of care. The report measured appropriateness and quality of care for two common ailments among children: colds and sore throats.

For example, for treatment of sore throats, each medical practice was evaluated on the basis of whether they administered a strep test, and only prescribed antibiotics with a positive test result.

  • MinuteClinic scored 100 percent, while The Mayo Clinics only scored 74 percent.
  • The average provider rating was 83 percent.
  • The lowest provider score on the report was 30 percent.

For colds, each medical practice was evaluated on the basis of whether the clinic refrained from inappropriately prescribing antibiotics for upper respiratory infections. :

  • MinuteClinic scored 86 percent, while The Mayo Clinics scored 93 percent.
  • The average provider rating was 86 percent.
  • The lowest provider score on the report was 24 percent.

MinuteClinic locations are staffed by board-certified nurse practitioners and physicians assistants. Clinics are stationed in retail stores, such as CVS Pharmacies and Wal-Mart. Each clinic posts their prices and all medical records are kept electronically.

 

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