The health system, comprising four hospitals and more than 60 additional healthcare sites, currently offers connected health services at four drug stores. Company officials say they’re “significantly expand” that number throughout Ohio in 2021.
“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Discount Drug Mart,” MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD, said in a news release. “Our organizations are both committed to transforming and improving the value of medical care by expanding access to more convenient, less expensive care. When quality, cost and convenience are no longer a barrier, we will help our communities become healthier.”
Staffed by advanced practice providers such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants, the retail clinics offer on-demand treatment for a variety of non-urgent health issues, including cold and flu symptoms, allergies, coughs, strep throat and sports physicals.
The health system plans to integrate telemedicine technology into selected sites, giving on-site care providers and patients access to primary and specialist care services at the health system.
MetroHealth is one of several health systems partnering with pharmacies and supermarkets to extend mHealth and telehealth services into retail locations. That list includes South Carolina’s Beaufort Memorial Hospital and Florida’s BayCare Health System and Flagler Health+, all of which are partnering with the Publix supermarket chain in their respective areas; and UPMC, which has joined forces with the Giant Eagle supermarket chain.
In a slightly different twist, Walgreens announced last year that is was shutting down about 160 of its own in-store healthcare clinics in favor of partnerships with hospitals and health systems that focus on complex issues like chronic care management and senior care. Another 200 clinics, many of which are run in partnerships with area health systems, will remain open.