Rajan Kochar, MD, MPH
Potential Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Kochar R.; Comparing Costs and Quality of Care at Retail Clinics With Those of Other Medical Settings. Ann Intern Med. 2010;152:266. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-152-4-201002160-00019
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(4):266.
TO THE EDITOR:
I read the article by Mehrotra and colleagues (1) with great interest; however, I do have some concerns. First, the study compares episodes in patients who were first seen in different clinical settings (retail clinic, physician office, urgent care clinic, and emergency department). Patients may not have received care in the same clinical setting throughout the episode. Although the authors mention that the percentages of episodes with any follow-up visits were similar for retail clinics, urgent care centers, and physician offices and higher for emergency departments, we do not have information on the number of follow-up visits or the clinical settings in which they were conducted. Several patients who were first seen in retail clinics may have received follow-up in urgent care clinics or physician offices. Therefore, the quality-of-care measures and preventive services attributed to retail clinics could have been due to follow-up in other clinical settings.
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