Simply extending office hours may not be enough for pediatricians to persuade patients to come to them rather than to retail clinics, according to a new study posted on the JAMA Pediatrics website. It found that almost half of children's visits to in-store healthcare facilities occur when pediatric offices are likely to be open.
The survey conducted by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine found that when parents took their children to a retail clinic, 47% of the reported visits occurred between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays or between 8 a.m. and noon on Saturdays.
“Many parents first considered going to the pediatrician for care but were unable to or believed they would be unable to get a convenient, timely appointment for an office visit,” the researchers wrote. They concluded that pediatricians “will need to directly address parents' need for convenient access to care.”