Interesting Developments Dept: Allina and MinuteClinic To Join Forces (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 10/29/09)
Interesting, we feel, for four reasons:
Most evidence shows that integrated systems deliver better health care, and better health care value, than fragmented, purely “patient-organized” care does. The unspoken question is “can ‘thinly integrated’ systems (of which the Allina/MinuteClinic initiative may become an example) deliver much the same care quality results as more formally integrated systems like Geisinger, Kaiser, Mayo, et al?”;
Walmart has cautiously begun constructing a similar ‘alliance’ model with hospitals in various parts of the country – in fact, it is further along than CVS/MinuteClinic;
While Allina officials are suggesting that retail clinic involvement in management of chronic conditions is a long-term objective, they were careful to mention that opportunity in the announcement of this collaboration initiative;
Some observers (the redoubtable Tom Charland of Merchant Medicine, for instance) anticipate that MinuteClinics will be a source of direct referrals to Allina. We’re not clear how that will play out, either with those MinuteClinic visitors who already have primary care doctors, or with those who have no primary care doctor but are likely be referred to one by MinuteClinic practitioners in the course of any treatment session that produced a conversation about hospitalization – but we’re interested that people are thinking so.
10/31 EDIT: we note Wall Street Journal Health Blog’s Jacob Goldstein picked up the Allina story on Friday. The Journal is subscription-only but occasionally the odd piece makes it into the Sunday business sections of regional newspapers.Tweet