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Impact of Retail Walk-In Care on Early Return Visits by Adult Primary Care Patients: Evaluation via Triangulation

Rohrer, James E. PhD; Angstman, Kurt B. MD; Furst, Joseph W. MD

Quality Management in Health Care: January-March 2009 - Volume 18 - Issue 1 - p 19–24
doi: 10.1097/01.QMH.0000344590.61971.97

Background Retail medicine clinics have become widely available. However, few studies have been published reporting on the outcomes of care from these clinics. The purpose of this study was to assess the risk of early return visits for patients using a retail walk-in clinic.

Design Medical records of patients seen in a large group practice in Minnesota in the first 2 months of 2008 were analyzed for this study. Three groups of patients were studied: those using the retail walk-in clinic (n = 300), a comparison group using regular office care in the previous year (n = 373), and a same-day acute care clinic in a medical office (n = 204). The dependent variable was a return office visit within 2 weeks. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for case-mix differences between groups.

Results The percentage of office visits within 2 weeks for these groups was 31.7 for retail walk-in patients, 38.9 for office visit patients, and 37.1 for same-day acute care clinic patients, respectively (P = .13). The corresponding percentages of return office visits within 2 weeks for the same reasons were 14.0, 24.4, and 20.6 (P < .01). After adjustment for age, sex, marital status, acuity, and number of office visits in the previous 6 months, no significant differences in risk of early return visits were found among clinic types.

Conclusion Our retail walk-in clinic appeared to increase access without increasing early return visits.

Department of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic-Rochester, Minnesota.

Corresponding Author: James E. Rohrer, PhD, Department of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic-Rochester, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905 (

Kelly Amunrud and Julie Maxson abstracted the data analyzed in this study from electronic medical records.

© 2009Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins