Thursday, August 18, 2005

Nurse Practitioner Clinics at Osco

Excerpted from Zwire

"Nurse practitioners coming to Osco"

Six Osco stores in the Kansas City area will soon have more than a pharmacy and the usual drugstore offerings.

Albertsons is partnering with Take Care Health Systems to open in-store health centers, staffed by nurse practitioners, in six Greater Kansas City Osco stores by Nov. 1. This means that patients ages 24 months and over will have another option if they have a common family illness, need immunizations such as hepatitis B or tetanus, or would like to undergo certain diagnostic health screenings. Patients can visit the Take Care Health Centers without an appointment seven days a week.

"We're not an emergency room and we're not a primary care office," said Sandra Ryan, CPNP, national director of nurse practitioners for Take Care Health Systems, based in Conshohocken, Pa.

In the centers, nurse practitioners will be working alone while they are there. After patients check themselves in at a computerized kiosk, the nurse practitioner will call the patients back to one of two examination rooms.

But the nurse practitioners will have support from electronic medical records and information systems that will help to guide them through a diagnosis after they input symptoms. In addition, a network of physicians will be available in the Kansas City area for the nurse practitioners to consult with.

"Even though they are functioning independently in the centers, they have built-in support systems through the electronic medical records system and network of providers," Ryan said.

One example of someone who might use one of these centers is a mother who picks up her child from school and finds out that the child has an earache. It's too late to make an appointment at their primary care physician that day, and it's not serious enough to visit an emergency room.

"This is an extension of care. We are not to take the place of primary care providers," Ryan said. "...It will take the burden off emergency rooms having health care centers like this available."

Patients also will have paperwork they can take back to their primary care physician regarding their visit to the Take Care Health Center.


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