The convenience offered by retail pediatric clinics is making parents chose over a pediatrician’s office to treat their children. There are many concerns about how this will affect the quality of care.
Will you take your child to a retail pediatric clinic or a pediatrician’s office
Will You Take Your Child
To a Retail Pediatric Clinic
Or a Pediatrician’s Office?
A report recently released by Accenture at the annual America’s Health Insurance
Plans (AHIP) Institute 2013 in Las Vegas projects that the number of U.S. retail
health clinics will double in the next three years due to the increasing demand of
newly insured patients under healthcare reform. The big question is how this will
affect children. Will you take your child to a retail pediatric clinic or a pediatrician’s
Retail clinics (RCs) for all specialties are a recent and growing phenomenon in the
United States. According to research published in JAMA Pediatrics, almost 1 in 4
parents who had relationship with a pediatrician took their children to RCs for minor
health problems even if the staff were non-pediatric health care personnel. Parents
cited ‘convenience’ as the major factor that steered them towards pediatric retail
The survey covered 1484 parents. Of the 344 parents who went to pediatric retail
clinics, 74% who sought pediatric care at a retail clinic said they considered seeing
the pediatrician first, but chose the retail clinic and gave the following reasons for
more convenient hours
unavailability of appointment at the pediatrician’s office
did not want to bother the pediatrician after hours
the condition was not critical enough for a visit to the pediatrician
While most RCs are located in retail pharmacy stores, others are run by hospitals or
doctors’ groups. In addition to the convenience factor, pediatric retail clinics run by
nurse practitioners and physician assistants are also popular because they provide
treatment at costs that are 30-40% lower than office practices.
Are Retail Clinics a Good Substitute for the Pediatrician’s Office?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) opposes the use of retail-based clinics
(RBCs) as source of medical care for infants, children, and adolescents. The AAP has
raised concerns about the quality of care provided at retail clinics. The AAP’s
concerns are mainly centered on various attributes of an RC on healthcare for
children and adolescents:
Fragmentation of care: Retail clinics lack access to the complete health record
of child and can treat only isolated symptoms such as sore throats and ear
Lack of training: These in-store clinics are managed by nursing assistants or
practitioners with minimal exposure to pediatric care
Lack of follow up: Retail clinics are approached for immediate healthcare
needs. Tests can be used for diagnosis without proper follow ups.
Public setting: Most retail clinics do not offer private examination rooms.
Patients are exposed to risk of contagious diseases in a commercial, retail
environment with no isolation.
According to the AAP, retail clinics are not the place for children and adolescents to
get ongoing care for chronic conditions.
What can be done?
With more and more patients taking advantage of retail clinics, it is crucial for
physicians to make adjustments in their own practices, making themselves more
available for their patients. Extra steps like expanding office hours, allowing walk-in
appointments and offering individualized patient education can help pediatricians
compete effectively and retain their patients. Other steps that can be considered
Setting up of pediatric urgent care centers that supplement the care that
children receive on a regular basis from their pediatrician.
Tele-health services are another solution. Innovative technologies help to
deliver health care, health information or health education at a distance.
Video monitoring allows a tele health provider to evaluate the child’s condition
and prescribe the right treatment.
With the increasing use of Smart phones and the availability of medical mobile
applications, virtual visits are replacing office visits. Healthcare apps can help
pediatricians view x-rays, review clinical notes, and track health progress.
About Outsource Strategies International
Outsource Strategies International (OSI), a leading medical billing company in the
US, provides quality services that meet the unique needs of pediatricians and
pediatric practices. OSI offers quality and cost-effective pediatrics medical billing
services for individual physicians, multi specialty groups, clinics, free standing
diagnostic facilities, long term care facilities, acute care facilities and hospitals. Call
our toll free number 1-800-670-2809 for further information about pediatrics medical
8596 E. 101st Street, Suite H
Tulsa, OK 74133
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