Short Attention Span Summary
Retail value is…
Opening of retail clinics in close proximity to EDs should theoretically siphon off low acuity patient volume from the ED into the clinic. Not according to this study, although there was a minuscule drop in ED volume for low acuity, privately insured patients. Until there is better patient education, these clinics won’t lower costs or offload crowded EDs. They may actually increase healthcare costs by adding to and not replacing care. I don’t think this is a failure of retail clinics; rather it’s a failure of educating patients and publicizing alternatives to the ED.
Retail clinics have a role as a convenient place to obtain needed healthcare but so far have not made an impact on low acuity ED patient volume.
Association Between the Opening of Retail Clinics and Low-Acuity Emergency Department Visits. Ann Emerg Med. 2017 Apr;69(4):397-403.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2016.08.462. Epub 2016 Nov 10.