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About One in Four Families With Pediatrician Use Retail Clinics

Last Updated: July 23, 2013.


Reasons for choosing retail care include more convenient hours, or no available appointments

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About one-quarter of parents whose children have a pediatrician also use retail clinics for pediatric care, according to a study published online July 22 in JAMA Pediatrics.

TUESDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- About one-quarter of parents whose children have a pediatrician also use retail clinics (RCs) for pediatric care, according to a study published online July 22 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Jane M. Garbutt, M.B., Ch.B., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study involving 1,484 patients at 19 pediatric practices to describe the rationale and experience of families with a pediatrician who also used RCs for pediatric care.

The researchers found that the 23.2 percent of parents who used RCs for pediatric care were significantly more likely to report RC care for themselves, have more than one child, and be older (odds ratios, 7.79, 2.16, and 1.05, respectively). For the 74 percent who first considered going to the pediatrician, the reasons for choosing the RC included more convenient hours (36.6 percent), no available pediatrician office appointment (25.2 percent), not wanting to bother the pediatrician after hours (15.4 percent), or not considering the problem to be serious enough (13.0 percent). Nearly half of visits (47 percent) occurred between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays or 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on weekends. The visits were most commonly for acute upper respiratory tract illnesses (sore throat, 34.3 percent; ear infection, 26.2 percent; and colds or flu, 19.2 percent) and for physicals (13.1 percent). Less than half (41.8 percent) informed their pediatrician of the RC visit.

"Parents with established relationships with a pediatrician most often took their children to RCs for care because access was convenient," the authors write. "Almost half the visits occurred when the pediatricians' offices were likely open."

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