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Parents turning to retail clinics with kids

Posted by: Colleen Stoxen Updated: July 23, 2013 - 6:07 PM

Parents are more likely to use medical clinics run by companies like CVS Caremark and Walgreen to treat their children for minor illnesses rather than their pediatricians because of the convenience, a study found.

Parents used the clinics because stores had more suitable hours, the family pediatrician had no available appointments, or they didn’t want to bother the doctor after hours, according to research in JAMA Pediatrics.

More than 6,000 health clinics in the U.S. are 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,” said Garbutt, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Most retail clinic visits occur when the pediatricians’ office is open. Parents and pediatricians do not discuss retail clinic visits.”

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