Making It Easier To See The Doctor — Minute Clinics And ER Adjustments
NPR reports on how some hospital emergency rooms are adapting to make it easier to provide regular care to patients. Meanwhile, The Washington Post notes that minute clinics are making more people more likely to go to the doctor.
Hospitals Adapt ERs To Meet Patient Demand For Routine Care
When it's time for medical care, where do you go? The doctor's office? An urgent care clinic? Or the nearest hospital? As many as 1 in 3 Americans sought care in an ER in the past two years, according to a recent poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. That relatively high frequency may be a matter of convenience, even though many in the poll also report frustration with the cost and quality of care they received in an ER. (Aboraya, 3/10)
The Washington Post's Wonkblog:
What Happens When It’s Easier To Visit The Doctor: We Do
The "minute clinic" has efficiency built into its name, a quick, easy way for people who feel sick -- but not that sick -- to seek medical treatment without the hassle of making a doctor's appointment. Early evidence showed that visits to retail clinics embedded in grocery stores, big box stores and pharmacies cost much less than traditional health care, suggesting they could be a way to cut overall spending. But a new analysis shows that, paradoxically, the rise of the retail clinic has meant a small but significant rise in health care spending. Retail clinics accounted for an additional $14 per person per year, according to a Health Affairs study that examined how people insured by Aetna in 22 cities between 2010 and 2012 used health care. That's because more than half of the visits to retail clinics for sinus infections or other relatively minor illnesses were driven new utilization -- in other words, visits that wouldn't have happened if the clinics didn't exist. (Johnson, 3/10)