Health Care
9:57 am
Tue December 3, 2013

The Nurse Will See You Now ... In The Drugstore

Bartell Drugs is building out clinic space behind its pharmacy at the University Village.
Credit BartellDrugs.com

When was the last time you called your primary care doctor and got in the same day? It doesn’t happen often.

“People often end up in the ER,” said Wellesley Chapman, a physician at Group Health, “or we like to have people go to an urgent care if they absolutely can’t get in to see us today.”

Chapman is also medical director of the new collaboration between Group Health and Bartell Drugs. Starting January, customers can come in to one of the drugstore’s walk-in clinics.

One will be at University Village shopping center, where Bartell Drugs is building out space behind the pharmacy.

Helen Neville, Bartell Drugs’ senior vice president for marketing, said that next month, people can come to the pharmacy for prescriptions, and to check in to get in the clinic.

“The customer would come in and the intake process would happen right up at the pharmacy counter,” Neville said. “Then the customer would be taken to the clinic room.”

The clinics will be staffed by a Group Health nurse practitioner, but you don’t have to be a Group Health member to use the service.

Retail clinics have been popping up around the country. They’re often located in supermarkets or big box stores.

Group Health’s Chapman expects this type of service to grow. He said patients want access to care, preferably close to where work or live. He said the walk-in clinic would be a good setting for people with minor medical issues: “Things that Google can’t solve for you, but you do need somebody to help you with, but you don’t need a CT scan, and you don’t need stat lab.” In other words, people with symptoms like sore throat, skin rash, sprains won’t need an appointment to get them checked out.

Group Health and Bartell Drugs will evaluate the program for six months before deciding whether to expand to other locations.