Parents’ Experiences With Pediatric Care at Retail Clinics

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Abstract

IMPORTANCE

Little is known about the use of retail clinics (RCs) for pediatric care.

OBJECTIVE

To describe the rationale and experiences of families with a pediatrician who also use RCs for pediatric care.

DESIGN and SETTING

Cross-sectional study with 19 pediatric practices in a Midwestern practice-based research network.

PARTICIPANTS

Parents attending the pediatrician’s office.

MAIN OUTCOMES and MEASURES

Parents’ experience with RC care for their children.

RESULTS

In total, 1484 parents (91.9% response rate) completed the self-administered paper survey. Parents (23.2%) who used the RC for pediatric care were more likely to report RC care for themselves (odds ratio, 7.79; 95% CI, 5.13-11.84), have more than 1 child (2.16; 1.55-3.02), and be older (1.05; 1.03-1.08). Seventy-four percent first considered going to the pediatrician but reported choosing the RC because the RC had more convenient hours (36.6%), no office appointment was available (25.2%), they did not want to bother the pediatrician after hours (15.4%), or they thought the problem was not serious enough (13.0%). Forty-seven percent of RC visits occurred between 8 am and 4 pm on weekdays or 8 am and noon on the weekend. Most commonly, visits were reportedly for acute upper respiratory tract illnesses (sore throat, 34.3%; ear infection, 26.2%; and colds or flu, 19.2%) and for physicals (13.1%). While 7.3% recalled the RC indicating it would inform the pediatrician of the visit, only 41.8% informed the pediatrician themselves.

CONCLUSIONS and RELEVANCE

Parents with established relationships with a pediatrician most often took their children to RCs for care because access was convenient. Almost half the visits occurred when the pediatricians’ offices were likely open.

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