In recent years, physician groups have knocked the growth of retail health clinics as an encroachment on their turf. But health care market researcher Kalorama Information says that’s not necessarily the case.
Consumers who have visited a retail clinic in the past year are much more apt to have seen a physician in that time frame, according to Kalorama’s latest online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults. What’s more, those who have a regular doctor are 54% more likely to go to a retail clinic than those who have not seen a physician in the last year.
Such findings indicate that in-store clinics may be creating health care visits — or serving otherwise unmet health care needs — rather than siphoning visits from existing health providers, explains Kalorama publisher Bruce Carlson.
“You could read this to mean there is a set of health care consumers that both physicians and retail clinics compete for,” according to Carlson. “Now that might concern physician practices. Indeed, retail clinics have concerned medical groups since their origin. But we’ve also seen this statistic of high physician usage among retail clinic users over four years of doing these surveys.”
Consumers with a regular physician, too, are more likely to go to a clinic more often, the survey revealed. Retail clinic visitors without a doctor were more likely to go once or twice, while clinic visitors with a physician were using the retail clinic more often.
Fifty percent of retail clinic visitors who had a physician went the retail clinic three times or more. That figure fell to 45% for clinic visitors who did not have a regular doctor. Retail clinic visitors without a regular physician are likely to visit the clinic once in a year, or maybe twice, the survey found.
Of the 2,000 people polled by Kalorama, 43% (866) said they had visited a retail clinic.