With the costs of healthcare are skyrocketing in the United States, and many being unable to afford even the most basic of treatment, the ability to visit a physician and get treatment has been difficult for people across the country. Although visiting a general practitioner can be an expensive venture, the growth, and expansion of walk-in clinics have made it possible for people to get the care that they need, at a more affordable price. When it comes to handling minor illnesses and issues, there are an array of reasons why going to a walk-in clinic can be more beneficial than seeing a general practitioner.
Here are a few of those reasons:
1. Longer weekday hours
One of the most difficult parts of visiting a general practitioner is the hours of operations that they are open. Often times, many physicians close their office doors around 5 pm, making it a major challenge for those who work 9-5 jobs to fit it into their schedules.
Walk-in clinics, however, offer a much broader range of operating hours for patients, and can easily fit into even the most rigorous of schedules. Many clinics are open from early in the morning, around 7 am, and will continue to see patients until 9 or 10 pm in the evening.
2. Generally, open on weekends
Aside from difficult office hours on the weekdays, a majority of general practitioners are also closed on weekends. Again, for those with difficult schedules, finding a way to squeeze in a doctor’s visit can be near impossible. Whereas physicians are closed on weekends, walk-in clinics are usually open for patient visits on Saturdays, and some also on Sundays as well. This provides an array of options to go and get the care you may need, no matter the time of day or day of the week.
3. Less waiting time
Doctor’s offices are infamous for extensive wait times. Despite getting an appointment for, say, 3 pm, it is often found that the actual interaction with the physician may not occur until well after that time. This causes stress and headaches for those who are on a tight schedule, causing them to forgo visiting their physician.
Walk-in clinics have become renown for their ability to see patients in a timely and efficient manner, ensuring that individuals do not waste their time in the lobby of doctor’s offices. This creates a more effective and accessible environment, as people know that their visit may take less than an hour, as opposed to over an hour when at a general practitioner.
4. Take care of simple issues efficiently
Although general practitioners may be required for more serious illnesses, those who are looking to take care of minor issues in a time-efficient manner can be seen and treated far more quickly. Things such as a basic cold or flu, getting a flu shot, swabs for strep throat testing, and various other acute ailments, can easily be handled at any walk-in clinic.
5. Treatment is more affordable
In addition to the time efficiency of walk-in clinics, another major advantage is that they are often more affordable than general practitioners. Many walk-in clinics charge significantly less than a doctor’s office would. One study found that the average cost of care at a general physician cost patients roughly $200 per visit, while walk-in clinics ranged from $99 to $120, making the price a fraction of the cost. With so many worried about the cost of care, walk-in clinics can be an advantage in getting the treatment needed, without concern for financial issues.
6. Accepting of many insurance types
Another benefit of going to walk-in clinics as opposed to a general practitioner is their openness in accepting a broad array of insurance types. Whereas many physicians are exclusive and selective about the specific insurance they accept from their patients, walk-in clinics will generally take just about any form of insurance. Whether Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance plans, walk-ins will not discriminate against specific types of health insurance.
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7. Transparent pricing
Visiting a general practitioner is often accompanied by a bombardment of costs that the patient may not be financially ready or capable of dealing with. The advantage in walk-in clinics is apparent here, as many are completely transparent and open about the price of certain treatments and tests, in order to keep the patient at ease about the amount of money they will be spending on their visit.
8. Convenience in access
Going to a walk-in clinic is not only more affordable and time-efficient when at the clinic itself, but also in finding a specific clinic in a nearby area to one’s home. Often times, transportation can be difficult for many people, whether they do not own the means of traveling to a doctor’s office, or they do not have the time to drive a considerable length to reach the location. Luckily, walk-in clinics are plentiful and located in convenient locations so the worry of travel can be mitigated. They are usually found in easily accessible places such as retail center or community areas, reducing the need to travel to a hospital center to attain the care they need.
9. No need to make appointments
Another issue that general practitioners have is that making appointments can be a challenge, especially considering that many are unable to see their patients on the same day. The beauty of walk-in clinics is in the name itself. No need to book an appointment, patients can simply walk-in on the same day and get the treatment and answers they need, without having to live with their ailment for an extra three or four days as they would if visiting a general practitioner.
10. The popularity of retail clinics for more convenience
As demand for walk-in clinics has increased in recent years, many retail locations are starting to develop their own personal clinics, providing more convenience and ease of access for patients. Retailers such as CVS, as one example, have opened up their own internal walk-in operations, in order to provide more value and benefit to their shoppers and increase their ability to give care to those who need it.
Overall, it has become clear in recent years that a visit to the doctor’s office is not only inefficient in terms of scheduling and time, it is also a financial burden that has led many to stray away from getting treatment.