NEW YORK — The convenience of in-store clinics may lead consumers to go to a doctor’s office less when they need primary health care, according to Kalorama Information’s “Retail Clinics 2015” report.
“The majority of visits are for routine concerns, such as vaccinations, colds and earaches,” Kalorama Information publisher Bruce Carlson said in a statement. “But we did find a surprising number of retail clinic visitors there for physicals and prescription renewals, which might cut into the physician practice.’
Almost a fifth of respondents (19.5%) agreed that they can envision a retail clinic replacing their regular physician. Of those polled, 86.6% indicated that they have a regular physician whom they’ve visited in the past year.
“Once we asked about a retail clinic replacing a doctor, even those patients who visited the retail clinic often and were highly satisfied with the visits scoffed at the idea,” Carlson noted. “That’s good news for physicians, though it doesn’t change that there’s some competition for low-level health services.”
Kalorama has conducted market research on retail clinics every two years since 2007. The “Retail Clinic 2015” report also found that the reasons consumers cited for going to a clinic included vaccination (named by 74%), cold/flu (55%), headache (23.3%), earache (13.4%) and a physical (18%).
U.S. retail clinics totaled sales of more than $1 billion in 2014, and the over 2,100 clinics open at the start of 2015 are projected to top 2,700 by the end of 2019, according to the report.