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MinuteClinic, Inc. Announces Continuity of Care Record Project Aimed at Improving Quality, Safety and Efficiency of Care
MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 9 -- MinuteClinic, Inc., the pioneer and largest provider of the retail clinic concept, and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the nation's largest primary care physician membership organization, announced today an agreement to exchange patient- authorized, secure and appropriate patient health information between MinuteClinic sites and family physicians' practices.

The project will utilize the Continuity of Care Record standard (ASTM CCR E2369-05) to assure portability and interoperability of personal health records provided to patients who visit MinuteClinic health care centers. It will field test the CCR standard in family physicians' offices, as well as in MinuteClinic sites where nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide care. The field test will occur in several key markets as a prelude to a national rollout.

The AAFP's Center for Health Information Technology developed the CCR in collaboration with other health IT organizations. It did so to respond to the need to organize and make transportable a set of basic information about a patient's health care that is accessible to both clinicians and patients. This agreement with AAFP and MinuteClinic will result in open best practices and resources available to other entities to facilitate continuity of care and a complete medical home.

"The goal is to establish an open IT platform that will permit the appropriate electronic exchange of critically important patient information between providers, which will in turn improve the quality and safety of care via continuity of information," said Steven E. Waldren, M.D., director of the AAFP Center for Health Information Technology.

The use of the CCR standard aims to ensure that summary health information -- such as diagnoses, medications, allergies, and immunizations -- can be transmitted between MinuteClinic's electronic health record system and EHRs used by medical practices, while the same information will also viewable by patients and providers who do not have EHRs but who have access to the Internet and familiar desktop software.

"We are proud to partner with the AAFP and applaud its leadership in the development of the Continuity of Care Record standard and technology," said MinuteClinic Chief Executive Officer Michael Howe. "MinuteClinic's model is not a replacement for primary care and cannot serve as a full medical home, so integration and cooperation with primary care are both important to delivering the full value to our patients, regardless of whether the visit occurs at the physician's office, urgent care, ER or a retail clinic."

MinuteClinic already supplies patient-approved visit summaries to the patient's family physician via fax and mail, but this partnership to standardize and automate sharing of information will increase the quality, timeliness, usability and consistency of information sharing.

MinuteClinic sites are equipped with electronic health record (EHR) software and a centralized, secure patient database. Under the new system, which is still in development phase, patients who are seen at MinuteClinic sites will be offered a summary of their health information in both paper and electronic format conforming to the CCR standard, which includes sections for patient demographics, problems and diagnoses, medication list, allergies, vital signs, lab results, and immunizations, among others.

About MinuteClinic

Minneapolis-based MinuteClinic is a subsidiary of Corporation (NYSE: CVS - News), the leader in America's retail pharmacy industry with more than 40 years of dynamic growth. MinuteClinic launched the first retail health care centers in the United States in 2000 and is the first provider to establish a national presence with nearly 100 locations across the country. By creating a health care delivery model that responds to consumer demand, MinuteClinic makes access to high-quality medical treatment easier for more Americans. The company has generated more than 550,000 patient visits with a 99 percent customer satisfaction rating. A recognized leader in the patient- centric health care movement, MinuteClinic consistently brings innovation to the marketplace and sets new standards for clinical quality that exceed the national guidelines established for store-based clinics by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). MinuteClinic is the first and only retail health care provider to receive accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, visit http://www.MinuteClinic.com.

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