Use and costs of care in retail clinics versus traditional care sites
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Retail clinics have generated much interest, promising convenient, lower-cost service for the treatment of minor conditions than conventional care sites can offer. Using health plan claims data, we describe utilization trends, patient mix, and cost per episode of care for the five conditions most frequently treated at a retail clinic chain in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, as compared with other care settings. Retail clinic use for these conditions is increasing at about 3 percent per year and offers savings of $50-$55 per episode. However, it accounts for only 6 percent of such episodes, and the impact on overall cost and quality remains undetermined.
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