Study: Retail clinic users don't have personal doctors

For years now, many primary care physicians have battled the rise of retail clinics, arguing that such clinics would interfere with their patient relationships. However, a new study suggests that their fears are misplaced--as the patients may never have been theirs in the first place.

Retail clinics are attracting patients who largely don't have a primary care relationship in the first place, according to a survey by Rand Corp. More than 40 percent of patients visiting retail clinics were ages 18 to 44. Meanwhile, 23 percent of that group had a primary care doctor relationship, said researchers, who looked at more than 1.3 million visits to retail clinics from 2000 to 2007.

Researchers speculate that such patients value the convenience of the clinics more than the continuity of care a private physician can offer. The study comes as the number of retail clinics in the U.S. surges past 1,000, driven largely by giants like pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Chicago Tribune article

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