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Early return visits by primary care patients: a retail nurse-practitioner clinic versus a medical office walk-in clinic

  • James E. Rohrer (a1), Kurt B. Angstman (a1) and Joseph W. Furst (a1)
Abstract
Aim

The purpose of this study was to compare return visits in 2 weeks experienced by patients using a retail nurse-practitioner clinic to similar patients using standard drop-in clinic located in a medical office.

Background

Retail medicine clinics have become widely available. However, their impact on return visit rates compared to drop-in medical office visits for similar patients is unknown.

Methods

Medical records of primary care patients (both adults and children) seen in a large group practice in Minnesota in 2008 were analyzed for this study. Patients treated for five common conditions were selected (pink eye, sore throat, viral illness, bronchitis, and cough, n = 279). Two groups of patients were studied: those using a retail walk-in clinic staffed by nurse practitioners (n = 142) and a comparison group using regular office care for same-day visits (n = 137). 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.

Findings

The percent of office visits within 2 weeks for these groups was 20.4 for retail drop-in patients and 27.7 for same-day medical office patients, respectively (P = 0.15). After adjustment for age, gender, visit reason, and number of office visits in the previous 6 months, no significant difference in risk of early return visits in comparison to an office-based drop-in clinic was found (odds ratio 0.83, confidence interval 0.43–1.63). Our retail nurse-practitioner clinic appeared to increase access without increasing early return visits.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence to: James E. Rohrer, Department of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic-Rochester, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. Email: rohrer.james@mayo.edu
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Primary Health Care Research & Development
  • ISSN: 1463-4236
  • EISSN: 1477-1128
  • URL: /core/journals/primary-health-care-research-and-development
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