The Walk-In Clinic: Advantages and Disadvantages

For those who are committed to a pediatrician or family doctor, the thought of using a walk-in clinic may be a foreign idea in the way of health care. However, for small emergencies that occur on vacation or during the weekend, this medical care facility may be one of the most cost effective options available on short notice. If you don’t have immediate access to your primary care physician but you have a minor medical issue that needs care, call a walk-in clinic located in your area before rushing to the nearest emergency room.

Advantages to This Health Care Option

These medical facilities offer an excellent choice for minor medical issues that don’t require immediate emergency medical assistance. Most often they’re open during the evening hours and weekends when regular doctor’s offices are closed. So, if a minor issue arises during the late evening hours, you may be able to avoid a huge emergency room bill!

Some families and individuals choose to see the doctors at the walk-in clinic for regular check-ups as well as for minor medical emergencies. The convenience of being able to see the doctor during non-business hours appeals to those who work long hours. Also, the convenience of being able to see the doctor without an appointment is nice for unexpected sick visits or minor emergency situations.

For those without insurance, the reasonable cost for appointments at these facilities is a huge advantage. A typical emergency room visit for any minor condition costs thousands of dollars, while visiting the doctors at a walk-in clinic cost only hundreds of dollars, if that much.

Disadvantages to This Health Care Option

Since no office can determine how many patients will walk in during the evening or weekend hours, waiting times may be unpredictable. Some evening may be incredibly busy with waiting times over an hour per patient, while other evening may be incredibly slow and patients are taken back almost as soon as they arrive! Of course, you’re faced with the same issue in the emergency room. For patients who value the lower prices and have a medical situation that doesn’t require immediate medical care, the wait may only be a minor inconvenience.

Unless the facility employs the same medical personnel to staff it each night, you’ll be seeing a different doctor every time you come. Those who plan to have regular check-up visits will probably want to schedule routine visits with the same doctor if possible. Many times the doctors do work on a set night or have a planned rotation, so it is possible to see the same doctor if you make an appointment. But for those who are visiting because their child is sick or injured, the doctor will probably be new every time. Once again, this will also occur in the emergency room setting as well, so if you have a situation that can be handled through a walk-in clinic in your area, it’s definitely better for your budget if you avoid the emergency room!

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