Retail clinic utilization associated with lower total cost of care

Citation:

Sussman A, Dunham L, Snower K, Hu M, Matlin OS, Shrank WH, Choudhry NK, Brennan T. Retail clinic utilization associated with lower total cost of care. American Journal of Managed Care 2013;19:e148-57.
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Date Published:

Apr

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: To better understand the impact of retail clinic use on a patient's annual total cost of care. STUDY DESIGN: A propensity score matched-pair, cohort design was used to analyze healthcare spending patterns among CVS Caremark employees in the year following a visit to a MinuteClinic, the retail clinics inside CVS pharmacies. METHODS: De-identified medical and pharmacy claims for CVS Caremark employees and their dependents who received care at a retail clinic between June 1, 2009, and May 31, 2010, were matched to those of subjects who received care elsewhere. High-dimensional propensity score and greedy matching techniques were used to create a 1-to-1 matched cohort that was analyzed using generalized linear regression models. RESULTS: Individuals using a retail clinic had a lower total cost of care (-$262; 95% confidence interval, -$510 to -$31; P = .025) in the year following their clinic visit than individuals who received care in other settings. This savings was primarily due to lower medical expenses at physicians' offices ($77 savings, P = .008) and hospital inpatient care ($121 savings, P = .049). The 6022 retail clinic users also had 142 (12%) fewer emergency department visits (P = .01), though this was not related to significant cost savings. CONCLUSIONS: This study found that retail clinic use was associated with lower overall total cost of care compared with that at alternative sites. Savings may extend beyond the retail clinic visit itself to other types of medical utilization.

Last updated on 03/23/2016