Why Do Patients Seek Care at Retail Clinics, and What Alternatives Did They Consider?

Published in: American Journal of Medical Quality, v. 25, no. 2, Mar. 2010, p. 128-134

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2010

by Margaret C. Wang, Gery W. Ryan, Elizabeth A. McGlynn, Ateev Mehrotra

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Retail clinics are an increasingly popular new model of ambulatory care. To understand why patients seek care at these clinics and what their experiences were like, the authors interviewed 61 patients at 6 retail clinics. Patients were satisfied with the overall experience and were attracted to retail clinics because of their convenient locations and fixed, transparent pricing. Patients who had a primary care physician (PCP) sought care at these clinics primarily because their PCPs were not available in a timely manner. If retail clinics had not been available, a quarter of patients report they would have gone to the emergency department. Retail clinics appear to be responding to the need for convenient, affordable, and consumer-centered care.

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