Parents Prefer Retail Clinics Over Pediatricians

December 7th 2015
Allison Gilchrist, Associate Editor
Allison Gilchrist, Associate Editor

Even parents with strong relationships with pediatricians prefer to bring their children to retail clinics for certain conditions.

Even parents with strong relationships with pediatricians prefer to bring their children to retail clinics for certain conditions.

A survey published inJAMA Pediatricsdelved into parents’ experiences with retail clinics and found that many will choose convenience and timely access to care over established relationships with pediatricians.

In fact, 74% of parent respondents said they had first considered going to their pediatrician, but ultimately opted to go to a retail clinic because of the convenient hours.

However, more than half of the retail clinic visits respondents made during the week happened between 8 AM and 4 PM—indicating that their pediatrician’s office was likely open at the time. Only 28% reported visiting the clinic between 4 PM and 6 PM, and 17% between 6 PM and 8 PM.

“Many parents with established relationships with a pediatrician use retail clinics for themselves and for their children, with some repeatedly choosing the retail clinic over an office visit,” the researchers wrote. “These parents believe retail clinics provide better access to timely care at hours convenient to the family’s schedule.”

The following are 10 conditions for which parents surveyed sought pediatric care at a retail clinic:

1. Sore throat (34%)

2. Ear infection (26%)

3. Cold/flu (19%)

4. Physical (13%)

5. Flu shot (9%)

6. Rash (4%)

7. Allergies (2%)

8. Asthma care (2%)

9. Cut or wound (2%)

10. Pink eye (2%)

In terms of parent satisfaction with these retail clinic visits, 62% of parents reported being satisfied with the care their child received, with an addition 33% saying they were very satisfied.

Satisfaction was likely also tied to wait times to see a clinician. More than half of the parents reported waiting less than 30 minutes, and only 11% reported waiting more than an hour.

Notably, virtually no parents reported having conversations with their pediatricians about retail clinic visits, suggesting that effective communication between the 2 care settings could be improved, as retail clinicians are taking on anincreasingly active role in chronic disease management.

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