Retail-based health clinics are springing up in grocery and department stores around the country. In fact, as of 2012, more than 6,000 of these "minute clinics" existed in the United States. While the convenience of these walk-in, freestanding clinics is appealing, the lack of a relationship with an established physician can be detrimental, especially for children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement this week advising parents against using retail-based clinics for their child's care, citing a number of potential issues including decreased quality of care, lack of follow-up care and unfamiliarity with the child's medical history.
Utilizing a "minute clinic" as the primary source of a child's care interferes with the relationship building made possible by seeing one primary pediatrician. Contrary to popular belief, even "minor conditions" should be seen by a child's pediatrician, as it provides an opportunity to diagnose underlying conditions and piece together the big picture of a child's health. In addition, a child's primary care pediatrician will be specifically trained in child health issues, which may not always be the case at other clinics.
If parents choose to use a retail-based clinic for any portion of their child's care, they should be prepared with some basic questions. It is important to know if the clinic has a formal relationship with their child's pediatrician and if they will communicate diagnoses and findings with the pediatrician's office. Parents should also clarify the clinic's protocol for follow-up visits if the child's issue does not resolve.
Choosing a pediatrician who meets your child's needs is one of the most important decisions you can make as a parent. For help finding the right pediatrician for your family, call (859) 258-4DOC (4362) or visit LexingtonClinic.com/peds.