What should communities have on their to-do list for 2018? According to a recent CVS Health survey, nearly 40 percent of Americans see access to care as the top health care priority to address locally. Already one of the most accessible points of care in many communities across the country, pharmacies offer a variety of convenient, affordable services close to home.
Quality, Affordable Care is Closer Than You May Realize
Eight out of 10 Americans live within 10 miles of a CVS pharmacy, and 62 percent of people report going to their local pharmacy at least once a month. With millions of Americans visiting these sites every day, pharmacies are well-positioned – and equipped – to support the health care needs of local patients.
At CVS Health, our 30,000 pharmacists across the nation are trained to administer vaccinations, provide medication counseling, and deliver disease management support. What’s more, CVS Health has more than 1,100 MinuteClinic locations where patients can walk in without an appointment and receive care for acute and chronic health issues from nurse practitioners and physician assistants who specialize in family health care. MinuteClinic’s recently expanded health services provide easier access to immunizations, treatment for minor illnesses and injuries, travel health, skin conditions, women’s services, preventive health screenings and monitoring, and general wellness care.
Improving Health Outcomes and Reducing Systemic Costs
The preventive care services and chronic condition monitoring offered at retail pharmacies and health clinics help identify potential health concerns sooner and can prevent chronic conditions from worsening. One study found that increased use of preventive clinical services could avert the loss of more than two million life-years annually in the United States and save nearly $4 billion in personal health care spending.https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/abs/10.1377/hlthaff.2008.0701
Additionally, access to care at retail pharmacies not only benefits individuals and their families, but also the health system as a whole. By providing a lower-cost alternative to more expensive health care settings, such as emergency rooms (ERs), where visits have been on the rise at a significant cost to the health system,http://newsroom.acep.org/2015-05-04-ER-Visits-Continue-to-Rise-Since-Implementation-of-Affordable-Care-Act pharmacy use can help communities cut costs while improving outcomes. In fact, it has been estimated that as many as 27 percent of ER visits could be treated at a lower-cost site like a retail health clinic, saving the health care system up to $4 billion annually.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3412873/
From administering immunizations to providing medication counseling to delivering disease management support, pharmacies and retail health clinics play an important role in helping community members on their path to better health.
For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve pharmacy care, visit our Health Care Delivery & Innovation information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. And to stay informed about the most talked-about topics in health care, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.