A walk in clinic tends to cover a very broad spectrum of medical facilities. Urgent care centers, free clinics or community health clinics can all come under this description. Basically, any medical establishment that accepts patients on a walk in basis.
Recently, I tried to book an appointment with our primary care physician and I was told by eight different doctors offices that they were not accepting new patient for another one or even two months. I decided that, that was ridiculous and finally went to the walk in clinic which was an urgent care, near me and within 15 minutes I was talking to a doctor.
What kinds of conditions can I visit a walk in clinic for?
Anything that is non life threatening can be treated at one of these clinics. Colds or flu, X-ray testing for broken bones or pneumonia. Vomiting, low grade fevers and a general feeling of being unwell will also be accepted at an urgent clinic. Recently, they have even added physical therapy to the list.
Why should I go to a walk in clinic over somewhere else?
Walk in clinics are designed to be quick in and out visit whereas an emergency room is designed for life threatening cases that may require hospital admission. If you go to an ER for an issue that could be treated at a walk in clinic, chances are, the wait time will be extremely long because anyone with a worse case than you will be treated first depending on the nature of the issue. Another reason to go here instead of elsewhere is that the cost, on average is half the amount of anywhere else.
Are there any disadvantages?
Not necessarily to you but more so for the doctors, which essentially could have an effect on your care. Doctors have reported that urgent care is cutting into the face time they usually get with the patients. This face time helps them to get to know each patient’s body and health but if the patient is visiting a walk in clinic, between doctor visits, it’s harder for the doctor to build that relationship. It has also shown a slight decrease in the income of doctors. However, they all agree that walk in clinics have proven very helpful in non emergent cases, freeing the hospital up to take care of life or death situations.
Keep these facts in mind the next time you are feeling the need to visit a doctor or a clinic. It is a myth that walk in medical clinics provide a lower standard of care than a doctor’s office or the emergency room. Quite contrary to that, in fact, the urgent care administration has been taking steps to ensure that the level of healthcare provided here is up to code, standard and offers virtually the same as a hospital or doctor’s office. Urgent care clinics are usually owned by physicians and these physicians take great pride in their clinics, even working in them, themselves. So, don’t be afraid to try one of these clinics out, you will be very pleasantly surprised, I can promise you.