The Growing Reach of Retail Health Care
New channels for health care are cropping up, challenging traditional notions of the ideal doctor–patient relationship.
The medical community scrambled to address the growth of quick-care clinics, which have emerged at superstores, groceries, and drugstores to serve families looking for convenient and affordable health care. These outlets, which go by names like Redi Clinic and Minute Clinic, offer treatment for a range of minor illnesses, from sore throats to rashes, with the convenience of a pharmacy just a few steps away. Family doctors and pediatricians have objected to these clinics, questioning their ability to provide quality care without medical history and follow-up. The traditional providers are concerned about the lack of a medical home for kids who go to quick-care clinics rather than see one doctor consistently over time.
What To Watch:
Whether this new brand of health care endures remains to be seen. But the concept of a "medical home" will continue to evolve as health care delivery becomes more fragmented. In the meantime, parents, confronted with many new options for accessing health care, will have to be vigilant about keeping track of health care encounters that occur outside the doctor's office.
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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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