Thursday, February 22, 2007

Super-size my tetanus vaccine?

In this week's New England Journal of Medicine there is an article titled The Rise of In-Store Clinics -- Threat or Opportunity? Essentially, pharmacies, grocery stores, Wal-Mart, etc are placing kiosks in their stores staffed with nurse practitioners who "take orders" from customer-patients. These customer-patients are offered a health-menu listing a variety of conditions treated and tests offered. The entrepreneur certainly sees these clinics as a money-making entity, the McDonald's of health care.

"The originators based their design on the McDonald's hamburger chain, in which customers select items from a limited menu."
Are these "clinics" a boon to consumer-driven health care -- quick and cheap? Will these clinics augment public health by providing easier access to routine vaccinations? A quick fix for that sore throat? Will ED overcrowding be affected by limiting primary care visits?

One thing is for sure, the cholesterol screening won't come with a milk shake.

To listen to an interview with the author, click here. (need NJEM login)

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