One in Five Adults Turn to Retail Health Clinics for Treatment, Prevention, and More

One in Five Adults Turn to Retail Health Clinics for Treatment, Prevention, and More

One in Five Adults Turn to Retail Health Clinics for Treatment, Prevention, and More

The FINANCIAL -- The holiday season has come and gone, but the season of sick is still in full swing. Americans everywhere are battling cold and flu symptoms, and are undoubtedly doing all they can to stave off further illness. For some consumers, this means seeking alternatives to doctors’ offices and hospitals by utilizing retail health clinics.

While these types of clinics have been around for years, they are more readily available than ever. A recent Harris Poll shows nearly one in five U.S. adults (19%) say they have visited a retail health clinic in the last 12 months, either for themselves or a member of their family.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,223 U.S. adults aged 18+ surveyed online between September 19 and October 3, 2016, including 403 who sought medical attention at a retail health clinic in the last 12 months.

Treatment experiences

Most commonly, Americans visit retail health clinics for some kind of treatment (e.g., allergies, colds, fever, headaches/migraines, sinus or ear infection, sore throat, rash, lice, acid reflux, etc.) (53%), followed by a flu vaccine (35%), a health screening (32%), a general health assessment (29%), or a general physical (19%).

Over half of retail health clinic users (53%) purchase a product during or after their visit, including over-the-counter medication (36%), personal care products (27%), food (24%), or household cleaning products (18%).

Patient profiles

Those who visited a retail health clinic in the past 12 months are more likely to be:

Men (22% vs. 16% women);

18-44 years of age (26% of 18-34 & 20% of 35-44 vs. 11% of 55-65);

Living in a household with children (29% vs. 13% without children);

Married (21% vs. 16% not married);

Living in an urban setting (26% vs. 16% suburban & 16% rural); and,

Hispanic (35% vs. 18% of whites & 15% of Asians).

Millennial patients most frequently seek some type of treatment (49%) at a retail clinic, but are more likely than some older counterparts to seek general physicals (34%), health counseling (19%), and/or travel immunization shots (13%). They are also nearly twice as likely as others to purchase personal care products (49%), food (45%), and/or cleaning supplies (33%) during/after their visits.

Similarly, those in a household with children most likely seek treatment (53%), but are more likely than households without children under 18 to visit retail health clinics for general physicals (27%) and health counseling (15%). These adults are more than twice as likely to be encouraged to purchase a product (71%). Around 4 in 10 purchased over-the-counter medication (45%) and/or personal care products (40%).

Hispanic patients primarily visit health clinics for flu vaccines (45%) and general health assessments (42%). Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) say the visit encouraged a product purchase, with 55% buying over-the-counter medication and 42% purchasing personal care products.

"As the price of health care continues to rise and become more complex, Americans are increasingly seeking easier and more affordable ways to address their everyday health needs and concerns,"said Andrew Mandzy, Director of Strategic Insights for Nielsen’s Health & Wellness Growth & Strategy Practice. "Beyond just flu shots, more and more consumers are turning to in-store retail clinics for wellness management, marking a real growth opportunity for retailers."