WOONSOCKET, R.I., May 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) which operates more than 1,100 retail medical clinics in CVS Pharmacy and Target stores across the United States, has introduced a new digital tool that allows patients to view wait times at most locations and hold a place in line from the convenience of their smartphone, computer or tablet.
The new system is currently available to patients visiting MinuteClinic locations inside CVS Pharmacy stores and Longs Drugs in Hawaii. It will be expanded to Target-based clinics later this year. The service debuts at the same time as MinuteClinic expands its suite of health care services and surpasses 30 million patient visits.
"Since introducing the first store-based, walk-in clinics in 2000, MinuteClinic has consistently developed new ways to evolve its model to make health care services more convenient for today's consumer," said Andrew Sussman, M.D., President of CVS MinuteClinic and Executive Vice President and Associate Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health. "We know patients are demanding added convenience as they interact with the health care system. The option to hold a place in line gives patients more choices and flexibility and will allow for prompt care when arriving at our clinics. We think of it as the 'cure for the common wait'."
To use MinuteClinic's new digital tool, patients start by viewing current wait times online at the clinic they'd like to visit. They then enter the reason for their visit and provide an email address or phone number in MinuteClinic's secure system to receive a confirmation code and reminder messages via email or text. Patients are given an estimated time to arrive at the clinic. Once at the selected clinic, they sign in at the kiosk and enter their unique confirmation code. They are then ready to be seen as soon as the practitioner is available based on the order in which the confirmation was received.
While bringing more convenient care options to its growing patient base, MinuteClinic has also added a variety of new medical services that include treatment of sprains and strains, gout, joint pain, indigestion and heartburn, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
In addition, MinuteClinic is expanding women's health and counseling services to include contraceptive care. Available to patients over 18 years of age (19 in some states), MinuteClinic practitioners can see women interested in starting birth control or changing their present method of contraception to develop a customized plan.
Increasing patient demand is the impetus for adding these new services, according to Sussman.
"We've worked closely with our collaborating physicians, health system affiliates, and our practitioner team to develop a consistent and thoughtful approach to expand and introduce new services that are within the scope of practice of our nurse practitioners and physician assistants," said Sussman. "We employ evidence-based guidelines in our treatment plans. Having seen more than 30 million visits in 16 years, we hope to continue to bring innovations and convenience to the way health care is delivered today."
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants at MinuteClinic specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses such as strep throat; ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; indigestion. Acne, rashes and skin conditions; sprains and strains; and minor wounds and abrasions are also treated. Common vaccinations are available at most locations, such as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia and Hepatitis A & B.
Prevention and wellness services include screening and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, tuberculosis (TB) testing, contraceptive care, motion sickness prevention and smoking cessation.
At the conclusion of each visit, patients receive educational material, a prescription (when clinically appropriate) and a visit summary. A copy of the diagnostic record can be sent electronically, or by fax or mail, to a primary care provider with patient permission.
MinuteClinic is the retail medical clinic of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States. MinuteClinic launched the first retail medical clinics in the United States in 2000 and is the largest provider of retail clinics with more than 1,100 locations in 33 states and the District of Columbia. By creating a health care delivery model that responds to patient demand, MinuteClinic makes access to high-quality medical treatment easier for more Americans. Nationally, the company has provided care through more than 30 million patient visits, with a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating. MinuteClinic is the only retail health care provider to receive four consecutive accreditations from The Joint Commission, the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, visit www.minuteclinic.com.