A latte, the new Fall Out Boy CD, something for lunch and oh -- I'll get that cough checked out.
Such "while I'm out" shopping lists could be what's leading more young people to retail clinics than older individuals and families. Also, younger individuals may be less likely to have a primary doctor. Either way, overall, younger families, participants aged 18-34, were more than twice as likely as older families, participants aged 50-64, to have used a retail clinic, according to research by the Commonwealth Fund and the Center for Studying Health System Change. The report also explains that 48% of Americans using retail clinics indicate they had done so for diagnosis and treatment of a new illness or symptom.
"While overall use of retail clinics remains modest, families with unmet medical needs tend to use the clinics more than the rest of the population," says Ha T. Tu, an HSC senior researcher.
About 47% of patients explained that their clinic visit involved a prescription renewal, while less common medical needs included vaccinations, care for an ongoing chronic condition and physical examinations.
"These findings suggest that retail health clinics have the potential to play a role in improving health care delivery, especially primary care," says Dr. Anne-Marie Audet, vice president at the Commonwealth Fund. The research, detailed in the report "Checking Up on Retail-Based Health Clinics: Is the Boom Ending?," represents a national survey of 18,000 people in 9,400 families.
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