Number of Adults Using Walk-in Retail Clinics Increasing

Most users satisfied with care; but many are reluctant to use for more serious conditions

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The popularity of retail and work-based clinics is increasing, with most users satisfied with care, according to a Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.

In and effort to examine the popularity of walk-in medical clinics, researchers from Harris International conducted a poll involving 3,036 U.S. adults over the age of 18 who were surveyed online from Dec. 7 to 11, 2012.

According to the report, in the last two years, 27 percent of all adults have used walk-in retail or work-based clinics to obtain medical care, compared with 7 percent in 2008, with use higher among younger adults. Although most users were satisfied with the care, fewer than half were extremely or very satisfied (45 percent of retail clinic users and 34 percent of work-based clinic users). Eighteen and 27 percent, respectively, were somewhat satisfied or dissatisfied. Retail clinics were generally used for cold or flu-like symptoms, flu shots, and for prescriptions, while users of work-based clinics also commonly underwent general check-ups and had their cholesterol or blood pressure checked. More than 75 percent of users were covered by insurance. The most frequent reasons cited for use of retail clinics were not needing an appointment and convenient location, acceptance of insurance, and being open when doctors' offices are closed. Most people reported being reluctant to use these types of clinics for more serious conditions.

"This survey shows a very large increase in the numbers of people using retail clinics over the last few years, since earlier surveys which used slightly different questions," Harris Poll chairman Humphrey Taylor said in a statement.

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