Retail mammo clinics may boost screening compliance
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Women are interested in undergoing in screening mammography in a retail healthcare setting, according to a survey published in the October issue of Academic Radiology. Respondents cited proximity to home, free and convenient parking and more convenient operating hours as reasons for their preference for an alternate location.

Although participation in biannual screening mammography rose to 75.4 percent in 2010, significant socioeconomic disparity exists. Women with less than a high school education, those who lack health insurance and women with annual incomes less than $15,000 are less likely to undergo screening mammography. Factors that contribute to the disparity include out-of-pocket costs, convenience of services and lack of awareness of the benefits of screening.

“We hypothesized that by providing screening mammographic services in a setting where women regularly shop, out-of-pocket costs will be minimal, awareness could increase, and the overall convenience might encourage women to adhere to screening mammography guidelines,” wrote Supriya Gupta, MD, of the department of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues.

Since the first retail clinic opened in 2000, the model has seen rapid growth, swelling to 60 in 2006 and 1,112 in 2009.

Thus, Gupta and colleagues designed a survey and distributed it to 400 women undergoing screening mammography May 25, 2009, to June 26, 2009. A total of 386 screening-eligible women completed the survey. The average age of respondents was 57 years, and most had attained at least a college education.

A total of 55.7 percent of women confirmed interest in undergoing screening mammography in a private area in a shopping center. Most preferred a pharmacy or drug store as the host site rather than a department store or grocery store.

“The most common reason cited for an interest in the alternative location for the mammography facility was its proximity to home (89.8 percent),” wrote Gupta and colleagues. A total of 62 percent of women cited free and convenient parking, and 48.8 percent cited more convenient operating hours.

Nearly half of women expressed interest in undergoing screening outside of normal business hours, with 23.6 percent reporting 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., as more convenient and 16.8 percent preferring 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. slots.

The researchers noted that convenience and accessibility of retail clinics can be appealing to the medically underserved or uninsured. However, the survey population was not representative of medically underserved women.

Gupta and colleagues emphasized the need for “a more extensive quantitative and qualitative assessment of women’s preferences with regard to an alternative screening mammography location at a retail clinic.” Possible barriers to the model could include some women’s hesitation to access mammography services in a retail setting and the resources and infrastructure required to develop such programs.