Walk-in clinics are becoming the fad, with several clinics popping up around Canada. They are the go-to for urgent primary care accounting for almost 3% of Canadians income.
Canada has had walk-in clinics for almost two decades, with several of them being led by doctors. These clinics offer health care to patients in urgent need of treatment and are unwilling to make the long queues found in hospitals.
Walk-in clinics are also an excellent alternative for those who do not have a family doctor. With most Canadians failing to have a primary health care provider, walk-in clinics offer the health care they need. In addition, the convenience of the walk-in clinics has made them gain popularity as many Canadians opt for them, making the clinics fill up with patients.
Why do patients prefer walk-in clinics?
There are several indications as to why patients opt for walk-in clinics:
Walk-in clinics are readily accessible and available across Canada. This provides healthcare to many patients due to their
Walk-in clinics offer convenience to patients due to their flexible working hours. For example, patients who fail to get time to go to the hospital due to their work schedules will find the clinics open after work. Likewise, patients with minor health concerns opt for walk-in clinics due to the ease of getting treatment.
Increase in medical demand
Walk-in clinics increase the urgency of medical demand due to the positioning of the clinics in the healthcare industry. Patients who require urgent and fast care often opt for walk-in clinics, as they offer medical services at a go.
Several Canadians who lack health insurance and need urgent medical care prefer to walk in clinics as they do not require any insurance and can access treatments. The presence of outpatient prescription pharmacies also offers patients the convenience of accessing medicine.
Walk-in clinics offer standardized charges for healthcare services as opposed to hospitals. As patients are most likely to pay out of pocket, the physicians can only charge patients the negotiated fee and not more than that. This enables patients to know what exactly they are paying for and have value for money.
How to schedule an appointment
Some walk-in clinics require scheduling an appointment. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, several walk-in clinics have closed down or decreased staff. The appointment will aim to make access to health care possible by enabling the patient to have access to the doctor at any given time.
Patients seeking walk-in clinics aim to look for virtual appointments, which aim to secure appointments from doctors. These appointments help patients have access to doctors and enable them to access virtual care.
After booking the appointment, the patient must search for a list of credible providers in the area. This list gives them access to registered doctors and practitioners who aim to provide services and access to health care in one’s area.
Most walk-in clinics have resorted to telehealth services to curb the congestion of patients. This is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and a way to protect patients from infection. In addition, telehealth services aim to give patients a chance to get health advice and schedule an appointment to see a healthcare specialist.
After calling the clinic, the nurse will ask the patient a few questions to assess the situation. Afterward, the nurse will guide the patient on attending a walk-in clinic, contacting a community service, or visiting a healthcare practitioner. Patients with urgent care are directed to the nearest emergency room.
The telehealth service is free to all patients and is confidential. Patients are not required to disclose their health care number unless they would like to. These services help prevent wait times in the walk-in clinics and help patients get faster access to healthcare.
The aging population in Ontario has benefited explicitly from this system as the telehealth services aim to make medical aid easier and faster than waiting in the clinic.
Trends in walk-in clinics in Canada
The Canadian health system is developing new trends to help alleviate the long waiting lines in walk-in clinics. For instance, publicizing walk-in times can help the clinics work with emergency departments and find ways to fasten the wait times, increasing efficiency.
Most walk-in clinics offer patients a satisfaction survey to fill in after their appointment. This survey typically aims to consider customer satisfaction with the services in the clinic and enable the clinic to consider different considerations as stated with the patient. This enables accountability in the clinics, ensuring that the patients are satisfied and more likely to revisit the clinic.
The demand for walk-in clinics in Canada is set to remain and expand to meet the demand for convenient and professional healthcare. There is a need for the clinics to concentrate on giving patients an all-rounded family medicine component to access different demographics and cater to a broader range of patients. For instance, elderly patients might have challenges accessing healthcare in walk-in clinics, as most of them fail to meet their needs.
However, with a family medicine component, the clinics can be segmented to different units which cater to patients of all ages and orientation, expanding the level of health care they offer. Considerations towards having more doctors and professionals available are also an issue of contention with walk-in clinics. This will enhance the quality of healthcare and lead to more patients seeking out the clinics.
Walk-in clinics in Canada also find ways to enable their patients to have access to continuity of care. Ensuring that there is follow-up with patients to see whether their treatment is working will help increase accountability and responsibility. This will also help advance the quality of healthcare in Canada and monitor the performance of the healthcare system.
Walk-in clinics are changing the healthcare system’s game and lessening the load on emergency centers and hospitals by taking in more patients. The popularity of these clinics in Canada is set to increase with the growing demand for healthcare in the country.