This is an invited post submitted by Julie Lindenberg, D.N.P., Clinical Quality Manager at RediClinic. The thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author.  There are approximately 1,430 convenient care clinics located in retail settings across the United States (Charland, 2013). Proximity of the patient to the retail clinic was the strongest predictor of its use . Women, young adults and patients without a chronic condition were more likely to use retail clinics. A 2010 RAND study found that the quality of care provided at retail clinics is similar to the quality of care provided at doctors’ offices and emergency departments (EDs), while the cost of receiving care at retail clinics is significantly less expensive than the cost of receiving care at doctors’ offices or EDs. Consumers report a high rate of satisfaction with both the convenience (88%) and quality of care (90%) received in convenient care clinics. As the primary service providers in convenient care clinics, nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) must promote quality care. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners outlined standards of practice for retail-based clinics in order to assist in maintaining the high quality of care that we, as professionals, provide. The 7th standard reads, “NPs must be permitted to establish an ongoing program for quality assurance through appropriate peer review and established quality measures.” Quality improvement (QI) data can be categorized into two basic types of measures. Outcomes measures are information about the patient, patient groups, or community, and are generally data that reflect, to some degree, the patient’s or patient groups’ health status. Process measures are system data about activities of the practice. These data are often indicators of the quality of care provided. Several organizations have quality measures identified and available in the public domain. Examples of measures applicable to retail health can be gathered from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the Ambulatory Care Quality Alliance (AQA), and the Patient Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), to name a few. RediClinic’s clinical services team has been working for the past three years toward developing and refining a quality improvement program for our company. Fourteen quality measures, based on national standards, were chosen. These include measures addressing acute care (e.g., use of strep test when diagnosing pharyngitis in children, appropriate antibiotic use), and preventive care (e.g., smoking cessation counseling, obesity counseling and immunization updates). We are excited to be able to provide our clinicians with objective data that can facilitate the delivery of evidence-based care. It is for this reason that we are particularly excited about and supportive of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) recent initiative, a Challenge, to broaden NP and PA engagement in the Effective Health Care Program. Hosted by AcademyHealth, the Evidence-Based Care (EBC) Challenge charged NPs, PAs and other professionals with finding creative ways to translate existing AHRQ research reports into provider-friendly resources for use in retail settings. By engaging directly with those who deliver convenient care, the EBC Challenge aimed to increase awareness and use of evidence-based healthcare tools, and improve the health and health care outcomes of those served in these settings. To view the winning resources of the Challenge, visit here. Please consider how you, as a retail clinician, researcher, or other key stakeholder can contribute to the delivery of evidence-based care and quality improvement throughout the health care sector. We need your special knowledge and expertise. Kudos to RediClinic’s very own Jill Gore, PA-C who wrote an excellent article (with CME’s) for the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. I hope you will take a moment to read the article. Reference: Charland, T. (2013). The ConvUrgent Care Report. Merchant Medicine, 6:3,5.    

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