At the beginning of 2016, there were more than 2,000 retail clinics located in pharmacies, grocers and “big box” stores. They provide care for simple, acute conditions — such as bronchitis and flu — and also administer services such as vaccinations or certain tests. Typically staffed by nurse practitioners, they offer convenient evening, weekend and walk-in hours.
Prices for retail clinic visits are significantly lower than a visit to the ER and slightly less expensive than a doctor’s office visit. Despite the price differences, the quality of care for the conditions most commonly treated in retail clinics has been shown to be at least as good as what is provided in traditional settings.1 As such, most health insurance plans cover retail clinic visits. Despite some concerns about continuity of care,2 retail health clinics offer some attractive quick care advantages.