Mar 302014


Walk in Clinic’ is a phrase that is uncannily familiar yet at the same time, not too many people can describe exactly what services are rendered there. Is it a freestanding emergency room or is it a convenient care clinic? How does it differ from an urgent care facility?

These are all questions that may easily run through the mind of a potential patient who is actively seeking the services of a walk in clinic but is not entirely sure what is offered. Here is a brief explanation of the services provided by a walk in clinic.

Retail Clinics vs. Urgent Care

Beneath the broad spectrum of the walk in clinic are the following: retail clinics, urgent care clinics, and convenient care clinics. All of these at one point or another have been referred to as a walk in clinic.

The difference lay in the services rendered and the hours of operation. For example, a retail clinic is something that is usually attached to a convenience store (i.e. CVS, Walgreens, etc.) These clinics may or may not have a board certified physician on site to see patients. More often than not, there may be a physician’s assistant or a nurse on staff to work with patients.

The retail clinics are not equipped to provide intensive services for injuries or illnesses. Convenient care clinics offer medical services for common problems, (i.e. common cold, flu, minor lacerations or contusions).

Convenient care clinics are not normally open after 6:00 pm. The final type of clinic that falls in this category is the urgent care clinic which provides many of the services offered by a hospital emergency room, is fully staffed with medical professionals and has extended hours of operation to better accommodate patients.


Patient Wait Times

Believe it or not, depending on the type of clinic that you go into the wait times may vary. When it comes to these sorts of facilities, patients can rest assured in the notion that on average, their wait time to see a doctor will be much shorter than the time they’d be waiting to see a doctor at the local emergency room.

All of the above-mentioned clinics have a system in place that is meant to usher patients through check-in and triage rather quickly. The wait time might be more extensive in the back once the patient is placed into a room to see a doctor.

If it is flu season or if there are many patients in the waiting room, then the wait time might exceed ten minutes or more. Usually, in any clinical setting, the wait time is minimal.

Demand for Walk in Services

Currently, in the United States there is a surge in expedient clinical services. Patients do not want to wait for hours and hours for a formal diagnosis. Instead they want to get in and see a doctor as quickly as possible, without any hassles or red tape. The health care system has taken note of this demand and has been proactive in franchising out emergency clinic locations.

Getting quality medical care on a walk in basis is something that many people want. They have access to their primary care physicians but also want quick medical treatment should they need it after-hours without an appointment. For more information on the benefits of walking into a clinic, go to

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