The doc in the store is gaining on traditional primary care providers.
Ateev Mehrota, a healthy policy analyst at the RAND Corp., Santa Monica, Calif., and Judith Lave, a health policy economist at the University of Pittsburgh, look at U.S. consumers’ use of retail health clinics in a paper published behind a paywall by Health Affairs, an academic journal that focuses on health care finance and health care delivery.
Mehrota and Lave defined retail clinics as medical offices in pharmacies, grocery stores and other retail settings.
Patients made more than 6 million visits to the clinics in 2009, up from 1.5 million visits in 2007, the analysts say.
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The analysts based those figures on data from three large clinic operators — MinuteClinic, TakeCare and Little Clinic. Those companies run about 81% of the U.S. retail clinics, the analysts estimate.
The analysts compared the 2007-2009 records with three big clinic operators’ records from 2000 through 2006. The companies handled 1.4 million clinic visits from 2000 through 2006.