Study: Convenience a major factor for parents turning to retail clinics for pediatric care

NEW YORK — Many parents with established relationships with pediatricians are turning to retail-based health clinics when their children suffer from minor ailments largely because of convenience, according to research published this week in JAMA Pediatrics.

According to the study, 74% of parents first considered going to the pediatrician but chose a retail-based health clinic because it had more convenient hours (36.6%). This was followed by no available office appointment (25.2%), they did not want to bother the pediatrician after hours (15.4%), or they thought the problem was not serious enough (13.0%).

What is interesting to note is that, according to the study, nearly half of the visits occurred when the pediatricians’ offices were likely open.

Most commonly, visits were for acute upper respiratory tract illnesses (sore throat, 34.3%; ear infection, 26.2%; and colds or flu, 19.2%) and for physicals (13.1%).

The study was among 1,484 parents, and researchers found that 23.2% has used a retail-based health clinic for pediatric care.
 

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