A study has found that more parents are turning to medical clinics such as those run by CVS Caremark Corp. to treat children for minor illnesses rather than their pediatricians largely because of convenience, Bloomberg News reported.
The study, published last week in JAMA Pediatrics, said that parents used the clinics, such as CVS’ Minute Clinic, instead of their child’s doctor because the retail health outlets had more suitable hours, their pediatrician had no available appointments or they didn’t want to bother the doctor after hours.
According to Bloomberg, this year there will be more than 6,000 health clinics in the U.S. located in chain pharmacies, supermarkets and discount stores. CVS operates more than 650 MinuteClinic in the U.S., but none in Rhode Island.
“Although parents consider going to the pediatrician first for care of a minor illness, they choose the retail clinic for reasons of convenience or because they think the illness is not serious enough to warrant an office visit,” Garbutt, a research associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a July 21 email. “Most retail clinic visits occur when the pediatricians’ office is open. Parents and pediatricians do not discuss retail clinic visits.”
The researchers surveyed 1,484 parents and found that 23 percent had used the clinics for pediatric care. The most common visits were for sore throats, ear infections, colds or flu and for physical exams. Only 42 percent of the parents who used the clinics for their children told their pediatrician about the visit. •