Walk-In Clinics (Retail Clinics)
A Walk In Clinic is a health center which treats common ailments in a retail setting such as a stand alone storefront, a pharmacy, supermarket or superstore. Walk-In Clinics treat a limited range of common ailments such as rashes, sinus infection,urinary-tract infections, sprains, coughs the flu and sore throats.. They also provide shots for immunizations (such as the flu vaccine) and simple tests such as blood pressure.
According to Consumer Reports on Health, "Research suggests that the quality of care at these clinics differs little from the care for similar conditions at conventional medical practices, and patient-satisfaction scores are high."
As a general matter, following are the characteristics of a Retail Clinic:
- No appointment is necessary. Most walk-in clinics claim you will be in and out in about 15 minutes.
- Walk-in clinics charge reasonable prices.
- Services are usually covered by health insurance. Co-pay is generally the same as you would pay if you visited your primary care doctor.
- Fees are generally cheaper than visiting your own doctor whichis helpful if you do not have health insurance, or if you have health insurance with a high deductible.
- Walk-in clinics are generally open into the evening and on weekends.
- Walk-in clinics are generally located in a place where prescriptions can be filled.
- The clinics have little, or no, medical equipment.
- Instead of a doctor, walk inl clinics are usually staffed by nurse practitioners and physician's assistants who can write prescriptions. There is usually a doctor who can be called for advice if necessary.
- Walk in clinics do not offer follow-up care or annual checkups. Instead see your primary care doctor.
- Be sure to let the personnel at the clinic know about your health condition as well as any and all treatments and drugs you are undergoing or have recently completed. Don't forget to tell them about allergies.
- Consider contacting your doctor or going to an Emergency Room if:
- You have symptoms of a potentially life-threatening condition, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding, head trauma or poisoning.
- The care you need is more than you can obtain in a Walk-In Clinic
- To learn how to maximize a trip to an emergency room, click here.
- When you receive any medical care, always be sure your doctor is informed of the reason for the visit and the result, such as receiving a new prescription.