-- "With retail clinics increasing ten-fold, more health systems and hospitals are capitalizing on the trend and getting in on the retail movement. Between 2007 and 2009, retail medical clinics at pharmacies and other retail settings have risen from a monthly tally of 0.6 visits per 1,000 enrollees in January 2007, to 6.5 visits per 1,000 enrollees in December 2009, according to a new study by RAND Corporation, published in the American Journal of Managed Care (study abstract here
Surprisingly, the availability of primary care physicians didn't affect use of retail clinics. The strongest predictor was proximity.
"It appears that those with a higher income place more value on their time, and will use clinics for convenience if they have a simple health issue such as a sore throat or earache," senior study author Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, investigator at RAND and the University of Pittsburgh, said in a RAND press release
This week's announcement that Emory Healthcare
, Georgia's largest hospital system is partnering with CVS MinuteClinic may demonstrate a broader trend of traditional hospital systems aligning with convenient clinics. Earlier this year, Mayo Clinic
announced it moved into the Mall of America in what it calls the "Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience" center, a 2,500-square-foot space of high-tech interaction. And Walmart
recently declared it wanted to be the nation's biggest primary care provider with its entrance into the retail care market."