American consumers have apparently enjoyed the convenience of retail clinics since they began appearing in pharmacies, supermarkets and malls in 2000.
A follow-up study recently released by Health Affairs provides an indication of the growth of patient visits to US retail clinics. Using data from the 3 largest clinic operators (Minute Clinic, Take Care, Little Clinic), the study reveals that customer retail visits between 2007-2009 grew from 1.48M to 5.97M.
- 64.5% did not have a primary care physician
- Majority of customers had insurance (70.5%)
- 44.4% of visits occurred when physician offices were closed
- Visits by age 64+ customers doubled vs. the initial study
According to study co-authors, Ateev Mehrotra and Judith Lave:
“It will be interesting to track demand at retail clinics after the Affordable Care Act is implemented…if wait times for appointments with primary care physicians increase nationwide, demand for the clinics might increase.”