Study: Pediatrician views of retail clinics

From the Journal of Pediatrics:

Objective

To describe pediatric primary care providers’ attitudes toward retail clinics and their experiences of retail clinics use by their patients.

Study design

A 51-item, self-administered survey from 4 pediatric practice-based research networks from the midwestern US, which gauged providers’ attitudes toward and perceptions of their patients’ interactions with retail clinics, and changes to office practice to better compete.

Results

A total of 226 providers participated (50% response). Providers believed that retail clinics were a business threat (80%) and disrupted continuity of chronic disease management (54%). Few (20%) agreed that retail clinics provided care within recommended clinical guidelines. Most (91%) reported that they provided additional care after a retail clinic visit (median 1-2 times per week), and 37% felt this resulted from suboptimal care at retail clinics “most or all of the time.” Few (15%) reported being notified by the retail clinic within 24 hours of a patient visit. Those reporting prompt communication were less likely to report suboptimal retail clinic care (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.10-0.42) or disruption in continuity of care (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.15-0.71). Thirty-six percent reported changes to office practice to compete with retail clinics (most commonly adjusting or extending office hours), and change was more likely if retail clinics were perceived as a threat (OR 3.70, 95% CI 1.56-8.76); 30% planned to make changes in the near future.

I’m not surprised that pediatricians don’t look favorably on care administered by retail clinics. They have some legitimate complaints, if the things they perceive are accurate. Of course, I’d like to know if they would have the same complaints about competing pediatricians as well. A comparison would be nice.

That said, it’s good to see that they view the access issues of primacy care pediatric offices as the reason they are losing business, and adjusting their office hours accordingly. As I said last week:

Until we get our act in gear, and start offering the convenience and ease that retail clinics do, traditional physician practices are going to bleed patients to these clinics. Prior coverage of retail clinics herehereherehere, and here.

@aaronecarroll

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