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ROCHESTER, N.Y. - While only 7 percent of U.S. adults have ever used an onsite health clinic in a pharmacy or retail chain, most of them were very satisfied with the experience, according to a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll released yesterday.
"As consumers' out-of-pocket costs for healthcare services continue to rise, major retail chains are stepping in to provide basic medical services via retail-based clinics," said Katherine Binns, president of the Healthcare and Public Relations Research Practice at Harris Interactive. "While only a small number of adults have ever used these clinics, these survey findings suggest that this approach to providing convenient and low-cost basic care might be appealing and helpful to many consumers."
Among those who have used an onsite health clinic in a pharmacy or retail chain, most reported being somewhat or very satisfied with various aspects of their experience. Clinic users were most satisfied with its convenience (92 percent), followed by the quality of care (89 percent), having qualified staff to provide the care (88 percent) and the cost (80 percent).
Among those who have never gone to an in-store clinic for healthcare services, 59 percent said they would be not very or not at all likely to use such a clinic and 41 percent said they would be likely to use one for basic medical services.
Despite the current low incidence of onsite clinic use at retail chains or pharmacies (possibly due to the low incidence of availability of this service), large majorities of all adults said they see the convenience and affordability benefits these sites offer, according to the poll.
More than four in five (83 percent) adults agreed that onsite health clinics at retail stores can provide basic medical services to people at times when doctors' offices are closed, like evenings and weekends.
Seventy-eight percent (78 percent) agreed that onsite health clinics provide busy people with a fast and easy way to get basic medical services.
Three-quarters (75 percent) of adults agreed that onsite health clinics can provide low-cost basic services to people who otherwise might not be able to afford care.
However, many of those polled said they also have concerns about these clinics:
Three in four (75 percent) adults said they would be worried that serious medical problems might not be accurately diagnosed by someone working in an onsite health clinic in a retail store or pharmacy.
Seventy-one percent said they are concerned about the qualifications of the staff that provides care in a health clinic not run by medical doctors.
About two-thirds (66 percent) said they believe that onsite health clinics are just another way for big companies to make more money.
Harris Interactive conducted the online survey within the United States between Oct. 12 and 14, 2006 among a nationwide cross section of 2,245 adults, ages 18 years and over. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions.
The full version of the poll is available at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_wsj.asp.