Retail clinics continue to expand their capabilities, moving deeper into the world of chronic care and wellness while adding electronic health record systems.

The clinics started their move away from mainly providing shots and treating sore throats back in 2013, toward more areas like public health.

A new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded report, prepared by Manatt Health, describes plans for a ShopRite grocery store to open in an underserved area of Baltimore, and would introduce fresh food choices, participate in food assistance programs and feature a 1,000 sq. ft. health clinic and pharmacy.

The report, called "Building a Culture of Health: The Value Proposition of Retail Clinics," also highlights how the H-E-B grocery store in San Antonio is working with the state human services agency to create outreach stations to enroll people in food assistance programs. H-E-B also partnered with the American Diabetes Association to provide in-store nutrition service programs.

CVS and Wal-Mart are active in getting people enrolled in health insurance, and Walgreens is trying to provide medication management to patients before they leave the hospital, according to the report.

Meanwhile, many of the new clinics are connecting electronic health record systems with health system partners. Given the lamenting about the need to improve interoperability heard at the recent HIMSS conference, that's apparently no small accomplishment.

Among those cited by the report were EHR linkages between Minute Clinic and Sutter Health and UCLA Primary Care and Specialty Care Network. The authors of the report wrote that all members of the trade group Convenient Care Association operate with EHR systems.

Meanwhile, physicians apparently are still wondering about how far they need to go to become more retail-friendly, a change that some say is necessary for physician groups to survive in their current form.

The authors add that the full value of retail clinics won't be realized without certain things happening, some dependent on the clinics and others on outside forces. Among the needed changes are integration into the delivery system, the provision and measurement of high-quality care and increased scope of practice rules for nurse practitioners and physician assistants in certain states.