Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

One in Five Ohioans Turns to Retail Health Clinics for Quick Care

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 3:13 PM

click to enlarge (JOHN JONES/FLICKR)
  • (John Jones/Flickr)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Health clinics are popping up around Ohio in retail stores and pharmacies, and new data reveal these newer models of health care improve access to medical treatment.

The 2018 Ohio Health Issues Poll, released by Interact for Health, found that about one in five Ohio adults (18 percent) has visited a retail clinic in the past year, primarily for treating an illness or getting a vaccination.

Dr. Miller Sullivan, medical director of Franklin County Public Health, said having a regular health-care home is important for management and prevention of disease. However, he contended that these clinics are proving to be a cost-effective alternative to an emergency room for after-hours care.

"The whole goal is to keep people healthy, and if they're sick, to help them get back to good health," he said. "And so, when these 'minute clinics' first came out, I think several of us were wary about them; are they going to provide good service? Are they going to take away our business? And I think basically anything that is allowing anyone to get good care is appropriate."

The reasons respondents said they had used a retail clinic were because they couldn't get an appointment with their regular doctor, it was more affordable, or they found it more convenient.

Sullivan said retail health clinics especially are popular during cold and flu season. With walk-in availability and extended hours, he said, it's easy to access treatment or get an annual flu shot.

"While not 100 percent perfect by any means, it goes a long way to preventing serious problems in many people," he said. "So really, anywhere you can get a flu vaccine is good - your primary care physician, the minute clinics. You can also get it just from the pharmacy itself."

The survey also asked about telemedicine - live, real-time video conversations with care providers. While just 4 percent of Ohio adults say they've ever used telemedicine, nearly six in 10 said they'd be open to trying it. As it evolves, however, Sullivan said he believes telemedicine may need tweaking to ensure it can provide effective care.

"Someone can say, 'Oh, I have a sore throat.' Well, can you really diagnose them with strep throat just by looking at the throat and hearing what they say? And the answer is no," he said. "As this becomes more prevalent, they need to decide how we can properly use it and still follow good medical-practice guidelines."

This is the first time the annual survey asked about retail clinics or telemedicine. Sullivan said tracking the data will help monitor the utilization and effectiveness of these newer models of care over time.

The survey results are online at

Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation