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In a recent KevinMD.com blog post, Roy Benaroch, MD had a few unkind words to say about retail clinics – the medical kiosks popping up in drug stores and grocery stores – that offer pediatric care:
“Everyone knows that if you’re looking for good, wholesome food, you ought to stay away from McWendyKing. If you want good pediatric care, you ought to stay away from these quickie retail clinics, too. They’re the ‘fast food’ of health care providers, offering exactly what your children don’t need.”
Dr. Benaroch feels that retail clinics do not and cannot offer the level of care provided by a pediatrician who works in an office or other standing medical facility. To do a good job, he says, the doctor has to really know the history of the child based on regular checkups and patient feedback. No such opportunity exists at retail clinics, given their “quick toss-off” nature. Moreover, the providers sometimes have minimal pediatric experience and, given their proximity to the store’s pharmacy, brings up a potential conflict of interest issue.
Of course, retail clinics usually provide care to adults as well as children, so Dr. Benaroch’s comments also carry weight for grown-ups.
At MedBen, we typically don’t include retail clinics in our provider networks. Not because we doubt the abilities of the practicitioners who provide treatment at such places, but because we agree with Dr. Benaroch on his primary point – the most effective care comes from a provider with whom the patient has an ongoing professional relationship. A doctor who has first-hand knowledge of your medical history plays a vital role in your long-term health.