Retail clinics, or medical care outlets located in drug or grocery stores, generally do not reduce visits to nearby emergency departments (ED) for low-acuity conditions such as hay fever, bronchitis, flu and viral infections, according to a new AHRQ study. However, a slight decrease in ED visits for these ailments was shown for patients with private insurance, which the authors said may be attributed to retail clinics being located in higher income, suburban areas. The study compared treatment visits to retail clinics and EDs within a 10-minute driving distance. The analysis was based on ED visits between 2007 and 2012, when the number of retail clinics nationwide grew from about 130 to 1,400. Authors conducted the analysis with data from AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the nation’s most comprehensive source of hospital data, including information on inpatient care, ambulatory care and ED visits. The new study, “Association Between the Opening of Retail Clinics and Low-Acuity Emergency Department Visits,” is the first to directly examine whether retail clinics were associated with reduced ED visits for the ambulatory conditions. Access the abstract of the study, published Nov. 14 in Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Ann Emerg Med. 2016 Nov 4. pii: S0196-0644(16)30998-2. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2016.08.462. [Epub ahead of print]
Association Between the Opening of Retail Clinics and Low-Acuity Emergency Department Visits.
Martsolf G1, Fingar KR2, Coffey R2, Kandrack R3, Charland T4, Eibner C5, Elixhauser A6, Steiner C6, Mehrotra A7.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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