People don’t always get sick during regular business hours. This cold and flu season, many Ohioans may find themselves seeking relief from illnesses by using newer models for health care delivery: retail clinics and telemedicine. To understand trends in these emerging areas, the 2018 Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) asked respondents about their utilization of both.
OHIP found that about 2 in 10 Ohio adults (18%) have used a retail clinic for health care in the last year. These facilities, which are often located in pharmacies, grocery stores or big-box stores and typically offer walk-in services and evening/weekend hours, were usually chosen for their convenience. OHIP respondents indicated that they most often visited a retail clinic for illness care (40%) and vaccinations (37%), and chose to receive care at the clinic because of its convenient location or walk-in availability. This was the first time that OHIP measured use of retail clinics.
“For minor illnesses, like the flu or strep throat, and care after hours, retail clinics are a good option and offer a more cost-effective alternative to an emergency room,” said O’dell M. Owens, MD, President and CEO of Interact for Health. “But it is also important for individuals to establish a medical home, with a provider who can oversee his/her health care and help manage chronic conditions.”
Telemedicine services not currently utilized, but interest exists
Live, real-time video chats with health care providers, or telemedicine, is another alternative delivery method that many individuals are beginning to use. While OHIP found that only 4% of Ohio adults said they had ever used telemedicine services, interest was high, with 6 in 10 indicating that they’d be open to utilizing such an option in the future. Interest was greatest among adults ages 18 to 29, with 74% saying they were very, somewhat or a little interested in using real-time telemedicine in the future.
Adults living in urban (60%) and suburban (57%) areas were more likely than those living in rural areas (48%) to express some level of interest in telemedicine.
The 2018 Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) is sponsored by Interact for Health. OHIP was conducted May 22-June 19, 2018, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 816 adults from throughout Ohio was interviewed by telephone. This included 363 landline telephone interviews and 452 cell phone interviews. In 95 out of 100 cases, statewide estimates will be accurate to ± 3.4%. There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording, or context effects that can introduce error or bias. For more information about the Ohio Health Issues Poll, please visit https://www.interactforhealth.org/about-ohip/.