Retail Health Clinics More Popular on Ease for Parents

Re-posted from: Bloomberg online      |     Written By Nicole Ostrow – Jul 22, 2013 5:54 PM ET

Parents are turning to medical clinics run by companies like CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS) and  Walgreen Co. (WAG) to treat their children for minor illnesses rather than their pediatricians because of the convenience, a study found.

Parents used the clinics instead of their child’s doctor because the retail health outlets had more suitable hours, their pediatrician had no available appointments or they didn’t want to bother the doctor after hours, according to research published today in JAMA Pediatrics.

This year there will be more than 6,000 health clinics in the U.S. located in chain pharmacies, supermarkets and discount stores, said Jane Garbutt, the lead study author. The clinics started in Minnesota in 2000. Today’s study is the first to show that the frequent use of these clinics for pediatric visits is double prior estimates, she said.

“Although parents consider going to the pediatrician first for care of a minor illness, they choose the retail clinic for reasons of convenience or because they think the illness is not serious enough to warrant an office visit,” Garbutt, a research associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a July 21 e-mail. “Most retail clinic visits occur when the pediatricians’ office is open. Parents and pediatricians do not discuss retail clinic visits.”…MORE

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