Why primary care trumps retail care

While walk-in clinics are rapidly growing in number, there are some basic reasons why patients should not ditch their primary care physicians (PCP), according to a blog posting on nola.com.

Those minute-clinics that have sprung up in retail stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies, as well as stand-alone urgent care centers, are not a substitute for a PCP, according to the article. 

Doctors don't need convincing, since only about two in five physicians say they are comfortable with their patients using a retail clinic for preventive health services, according to the post. But here's just a few reasons that may help you convince your patients to stick with your primary care practice:  

  • The doctor-patient relationship. Patients may like the convenience of retail clinics, but they sacrifice that personal relationship they have built with their physicians, perhaps over many years.
  • Comprehensive care. A physician will provide a thorough examination that considers all of a patient's health issues, not just a quick evaluation to treat the illness or injury that prompted the visit.
  • Coordination of care. Primary care physicians can coordinate patient care when there are chronic or long-term health issues.

Based on those kinds of concerns, it's no wonder that many physicians have an uneasy relationship with retail clinics. To compete, many practices now offer same-day appointments and weekend hours for patients. The American College of Physicians has also called for a more defined role for retail and pharmacy clinics stating that they should not replace the physician-patient relationship established through ongoing care.

To learn more:
- read the blog post

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