Retail clinics get high marks in cost savings study

According to a new study, retail clinics are cheaper for patients than going to a primary care physician's office. The study, published in the journal Health Affairs and conducted by Dr. Lief Solberg of Health Partners, found that the theory that too many patients go to a retail clinic first and then to their primary care physicians for follow up afterward does not hold up.

By tracking Health Partner enrollee visits to MinuteClinics, researchers found that a patient treated at the retail clinic for one of five basic illnesses was $51 cheaper on average than a patient treated at an emergency room, and $55 cheaper than a patient treated by a primary care physician. Pharmacy costs were also reportedly some what less expensive.

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