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Truven Health-NPR Poll Finds Retail Clinics Supplement Personal Doctors

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Truven Health

ANN ARBOR — Half of Americans are aware of retail health clinics, and nearly one in six have used them recently for various health care needs, even if they have a primary care physician, according to the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll. Truven Health Analytics was formerly the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.

Truven Health Analytics and NPR conduct a monthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues.

The survey, which asked respondents about their awareness, attitudes, and practices regarding retail health clinics, found that 49 percent of Americans were aware of these establishments. Of those, 16 percent had used one in the past six months, and another 68 percent (who were aware, but had not used one in that time frame) said they would be willing to do so.

Overall, 89 percent of respondents who used a retail clinic also had a primary care physician.

When asked why they visited retail health clinics, 39 percent of respondents cited a minor cold or illness. Other reasons include a flu shot (19 percent), immunization (8 percent), or another type of minor procedure (35 percent). Sixty-five percent of these respondents said their healthcare coverage paid for their visit.

“For many years health care consumers have complained about the need for more convenient and easier access to medical care for uncomplicated illness evaluation and treatment. Retail clinics appear to be meeting this need,” said Raymond Fabius, M.D., chief medical officer at Truven Health Analytics. “The majority of visits involve either care for a minor problem like an earache or the injection of a vaccine such as a flu shot. Most people who receive this care are highly satisfied. We should consider Retail Clinics another part of the American healthcare delivery system.”

Eighty percent of respondents who have used a retail clinic were satisfied with the experience: a rate that rose with increasing age and level of education. Of those who were not aware of the clinics, 69 percent said they would be willing to use one if it was available in their community.

To date, the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll has explored numerous health topics, including generic drugs, abortion, vaccines, food allergies, and organic and genetically modified foods. NPR’s reports on the surveys are archived online at the Shots health blog at http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/.

The Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll is powered by the Truven Health Pulse Healthcare Survey, the nation’s largest and longest-running independently funded, nationally representative telephone poll that collects information about health-related behaviors and attitudes and healthcare utilization from more than 100,000 United States households annually. Survey questions are developed in conjunction with NPR. The figures in this month’s poll are based on 3,003 participants interviewed from July 9-20. The margin of error is 1.8 percent.

For a copy of the full survey, visit this link.

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