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Use of retail medical clinics rises 10-fold over 2-year period, study finds
Date:11/22/2011

e if they have a simple health issue such as a sore throat or earache," said Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, the study's senior author and an investigator at RAND and the University of Pittsburgh.

How this trend will affect the rising cost of health care is unclear? Care initiated at retail clinics is 30 percent to 40 percent less expensive than similar care provided at a physician office, and 80 percent less expensive than such care provided in an emergency room.

"If the growth in retail clinic visits that we noted represents substitution for other sources of care, then the increase in retail clinic use could lead to lower costs," Ashwood said. "However, if these visits represent new utilization or induced demand -- in other words, patents are seeking care when they would have otherwise stayed home -- then costs could increase. Answering these questions requires additional study."


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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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