Study: Patients satisfied with retail clinics

If you're convinced that people won't settle for cut-rate retail clinic care, think again. Though some quality concerns remain, most U.S. residents who have visited a retail clinic are satisfied with the service they received, according to a new survey by The Wall Street Journal Online and Harris Interactive. The research, which surveyed 2,441 U.S. adults, found that five percent had visited a retail clinic. Nearly half (44 percent) visited for a vaccination, 33 percent wanted treatment for common conditions like ear infections or colds, and 19 percent wanted preventive screenings for chronic disease like diabetes. Interestingly, given the common assumption that such clinics are largely for the medically indigent, only 22 percent of those who visited retail clinics were uninsured at the time of their visit. What's more, 42 percent said their health insurer covered some or all of the cost.

Researchers found that ninety percent of those who visited the clinics were satisfied with the quality of care, 83 percent were satisfied with the convenience of the clinics, and 80 percent with the cost. Consumers do still wonder about the quality of care provided at retail clinics, but those concerns seem to be receding. Sixty-four percent of adults polled said that they were concerned about the qualifications of non-doctors running clinics, but that's down from 71 percent who expressed similar fears in a 2005 survey.

To learn more about the survey:
- read this Daily Health Policy Report piece