Patients Find Quality Care at Pharmacy and Retail Clinics

Eileen Oldfield, Associate Editor
Published Online: Thursday, January 3, 2013
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Patients are increasingly willing to visit pharmacy-based clinics for their health care needs, according to the results of a recent survey.

Patients are not only open to pharmacy-based health clinics but tend to like them, according to the results of a NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll detailed on NPR.com on November 5, 2012. This was true even of many respondents who have a regular primary care physician or health insurance.
 
“I think this is a reflection of the war cry that health care consumers have had for a long time,” Raymond Fabius, MD, chief medical officer at Truven Health, told NPR. “They’re frustrated with an inability to easily access care.”
 
Dr. Fabius cited the complications patients often face when scheduling appointments, particularly after-hours, as reasons for the frustration, NPR reported.
 
The poll was inspired by an October 2012 Merchant Medicine report on the walk-in clinic market. The monthly Merchant Medicine reports include information on retail clinic operators, how many clinics are in operation during a given month, and how many clinics open and close.
 
Of the 1388 pharmacy-based clinics in Merchant Medicine’s report, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart were the top 3 retail clinic operators, according to NPR.
 
NPR further explored the findings in its monthly health poll, asking about participants’ impressions and experiences with the clinics. Of the 3003 participants surveyed in the telephone poll, about half were aware of pharmacy-based clinics in their community. Many participants reported that neither they nor their family members had visited a retail clinic in the 6 months preceding to the survey, but 68% of these participants reported being willing to visit one. In addition, 68% of participants who were not aware of a retail clinic in their area reported being willing to visit one if it were available.
 
Of the participants reporting clinic visits, frequently cited reasons for use included treatment of a cold or other minor illness (39%), flu shot (19%), immunization (8%), and other minor procedures (35%). Most participants reported being either satisfied or very satisfied with their level of care, and the satisfaction rate rose along with age and education level.
 
The survey also found that 57% of participants paid less than $25 at the time of their clinic visit. In addition, 65.2% of participants reported that their visit was covered by health insurance.

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