Pediatrics Group Advises Against Retail-Based Clinics

Parents must weigh convenience against doctors who know their child's full medical history

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Just as CVS is promoting itself as a one-stop-shop for health with both a pharmacy and medical services, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is telling parents they should not take their kids to a retail-based clinics.

On Monday, the AAP released an updated statement criticizing retail clinics as poor places for medical care because they fragment a child’s care and do not provide what the AAP calls a medical home, where doctors know the patients and their history. The AAP has long taken a strong stance against the clinics because the physicians at the clinics do not have a child’s medical record and there is no patient follow-up.

However, the AAP does acknowledge that retail clinics are not going away anytime soon, citing the fact that surveys show that 15% of kids are likely to use a retail-based clinic in the future. A 2013 study of parents who took their kids to retail clinics found that the majority did consider taking their child to their pediatrician, but that they changed their minds because the retail clinic hours worked better for their schedules.

(MORE: Pediatricians v Retail Clinics: Is It Time to Think Beyond the Office Visit?)

The convenience of retail clinics appeals to consumers who want more access on their own watch. Some argue the backlash from pediatricians is simply a turf battle, while others believe it’s dangerous to see someone who doesn’t know your child’s full medical history.

The AAP encourages pediatricians to provide accessible hours, and patients to at least ask the retail clinics if they have a formal relationship with a pediatrician.