Tags: retail | health | clinics | flu

More Using Retail Health Clinics

Monday, 20 August 2012 03:15 PM

More people are turning to health clinics that have opened in retail stores over the past five years, particularly for flu shots and other vaccinations, according to a new study.
Visits to retail clinics increased four-fold between 2007 and 2009, led by a surge in older patients seeking preventive care, the nonprofit RAND Corporation study found.
"Retail medical clinics continue to grow rapidly and attract new segments of users," said lead researcher Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "They remain just a small part of outpatient medical care, but appear to have tapped into patients' needs."
According to the study, published online in the journal Health Affairs, the proportion of patients over age 65 who visit retail clinics has grown from 8 percent to 19 percent. More than 44 percent of visits occurred on the weekend or other hours when physician offices are closed.
While retail clinics have begun promoting care for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, it is unclear whether demand for the clinics will continue to grow as the federal Affordable Care Act is enacted.
"If demand for primary medical care drives longer wait times to see a doctor as it has following health care reform … then this could drive greater demand for convenient alternatives such as retail clinics," Mehrotra said.
Retail medical clinics are located in drug stores or other retail businesses and are typically staffed by nurse practitioners. They generally offer basic types of healthcare at clearly posted prices.
For the study, Rand researchers examined information from the three largest retail clinic operators, which account for 81 percent of the clinics operated nationally. Trends in usage from 2007 to 2009 were compared to earlier findings from 2000 to 2006.
Visits to retail clinics reached 5.97 million in 2009, up from 1.48 million in 2007. But retail clinics account for only a small slice of outpatient medical care when compared to the estimated 117 million emergency room visits and 577 million visits to doctors' offices made each year.
Researchers found visits for preventive care is rising, comprising more than 47 percent of visits in 2009.

© HealthDay

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More people are turning to health clinics that have opened in retail stores over the past five years.
Monday, 20 August 2012 03:15 PM
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