Sizing up retail clinics: Quality and cost

Sizing up retail clinics: Quality and cost

With more people turning to retail clinics for convenience and lower costs, some wonder if the level of care can match other health care options.

According to a 2009 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and led by Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, a researcher with RAND Corp., retail clinics are comparable to urgent care centers and physicians' offices on measures of quality and fare better than emergency departments.

They examined 14 quality indicators, such as what kind of tests were ordered and what drugs were prescribed. Mehrotra’s team determined that one in five visits to a doctor and one in 10 to an ER could be handled by a retail clinic.


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