Retail Clinic Volume Boomed During Pandemic — and Could Stay High

According to a new report, retail clinic claims have boomed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — and heavy utilization seems like it’s here to stay. Experts tell AIS Health, a division of MMIT, that retail clinics can help improve access and convenience for patients, but they also caution that retail clinics aren’t a substitute for high-quality primary care and could induce demand for low-value encounters.

The report, prepared by health care consultancy Definitive Healthcare LLC, found that retail clinic claim volume increased by 200% between 2017 and 2022, according to information sourced from the firm’s proprietary all-payer claims database. During the same period, urgent care claims increased by 70%, emergency room claims decreased by 1%, and primary care physician claims decreased by 13%.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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