Popularity of ‘walk-in’ clinics continues to rise

Younger adults are frequenting retail and work-based clinics because of the convenience and accessibility they offer, according to a new poll.

The popularity of “walk-in” clinics has jumped 7% since 2008 and is expected to keep increasing, according to a new poll from Harris Interactive/HealthDay.

Nearly 30% of consumers surveyed say they have obtained care from a walk-in clinic over the past 2 years; roughly 20% visited a retail clinic, and 11% received care from a work-based clinic.

Younger consumers were more likely to visit a walk-in clinic, with 40% of consumers aged 25 to 29 years using such facilities compared with 15% of those aged at least 65 years. Walk-in clinics target patients with acute conditions such as colds, flu-like symptoms, and minor wounds and do not provide the chronic care that older patients typically require, according to the poll authors.

Most of the patients who visited such clinics generally were well satisfied with their care, poll results reveal, and about 75% of patients who used walk-in clinics say the services were covered by their insurance plans.

Consumers who used retail or work-based clinics often cited convenience, accessibility, and affordability as main factors in their decision. The poll notes that few patients indicated they would be willing to visit walk-in clinics for serious conditions, although the shortage of primary care physicians has been a factor in the growth of such facilities.

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