Attention parents: the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) wants you to know that in-store clinics do not provide "the high-quality, regular preventive health care children need."
While clinics may be much more convenient and less expensive than going to a doctor's office, AAP argues that optimal care requires a "medical home" for children with a pediatrician managing and coordinating care.
AAP has raised its red flag as the number of clinics in stores continues to climb in anticipation of millions of newly insured consumers entering the market as a result of the Affordable Care Act. CVS, off its decision to end tobacco sales, is looking to have 1,500 MinuteClinics operating inside its stores by 2017. Walgreens will have 500 clinics operating inside its drugstores by year's end.
Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association, issued a statement pushing back against the AAP. She called in-store clinics "a more convenient option for parents with sick children than the alternative, which is often waiting for an appointment or spending hours in a high-cost emergency room for a minor pediatric complaint."
Research in 2009 funded by the California Health Care Foundation and the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health, found the quality of care provided by in-store clinics for ailments such as ear infections, sore throats and urinary tract infections was on par with MD offices and better than emergency rooms.
How big will the market opportunity be for in-store clinics over the next five years?