The agreement pairs one of the Cincinnati area’s largest health systems and one of Cincinnati’s largest companies, the nation’s largest traditional grocer.
The deal impacts 18 stores, or all Ohio Kroger stores in the grocer’s Cincinnati/Dayton Division already with an in-store clinic.
The Little Clinic treats patients for common illnesses, minor injuries and vaccinations, and provides physicals and other wellness services.
Through the new collaboration, UC Health and participating locations of The Little Clinic will share electronic medical records, with patient permission. Also through the arrangement, clinic staff can refer patients needing more specialized care to UC Health.
UC Health patients will benefit from the access of health care services at Kroger stores with less wait times, and more convenient hours, officials said.
By exchanging medical records, nurse practitioners employed by The Little Clinic and UC Health doctor specialists can collaborate, share information and manage care, said Peter Iacobell, vice president of strategic planning and development of UC Health. For example, a diabetic patient could meet a nurse practitioner for routine testing at a store. If there were indications their condition changed, the patients through the relationship would be able to access a specialist such as an endocrinologist for more complex care, Iacobell said.
“On a clinical level we’re providing collaborating physician support for nurse practitioners within The Little Clinic,” Iacobell said.“From a community perspective, we’re going to develop chronic disease management relationships to try to enhance access to specialty care for patients.”
Goals include reducing emergency room visits with more convenient access to health care in the evenings and weekends, and attracting patients to help detect medical problems earlier and provide more preventative care.
UC Health is the nonprofit hospital and doctor group affiliated with University of Cincinnati, and operates West Chester Hospital and University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Nashville, Tenn-based The Little Clinic is a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Kroger.