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Research published last week in JAMA Pediatrics found that many parents are turning to retail-based health clinics when their children suffer from minor ailments, largely because the clinics are convenient.
Parents are turning to clinics for their children’s minor ailments not because they lack an established relationship with a pediatrician but because of convenience. In fact, most of the parents surveyed (74%) first considered going to the pediatrician but opted for a retail-based health clinic because the clinic had more convenient hours or because their doctor didn’t have an appointment available.
Clearly, retail-based health clinics are meeting a need and filling a healthcare gap among not only adults, but also among children suffering from acute ailments.
After all, where is a parent to turn if their child suffers from a minor ailment like a cold, sore throat or an ear infection and they can’t get in to see their pediatrician — the overcrowded ER?
Judging by the research, parents are seeing clinics as a viable option, and they are recognizing the important role that clinics play — a point that is likely to become increasingly pronounced as millions of Americans join the insurance fold come 2014 due to healthcare reform and the shortage of physicians continues.
Expect to see more of this. It is likely that parents will increasingly turn to clinics when their children suffer from minor ailments as the healthcare system continues to feel pressure and the number of U.S. retail health clinics continues to rise.
The number of clinics is projected to double in the next three years, according to a report released in June by Accenture ACN at the annual America's Health Insurance Plans Institute 2013 in Las Vegas. The number of retail clinics is expected to increase 20% to 25% per year between now and 2015 and double from 1,418 to 2,868 clinics in that time period.
Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that Walgreens has rebranded its Take Care Clinics. Going forward, the clinics will now be known as the Healthcare Clinic as the company works to further align its healthcare assets and affiliations.
All signs within the convenient care clinic industry continue to point to growth.