Are you looking to change your practice model?
It’s one of the biggest dilemmas your patients face when they’re sick: To call their primary care physician’s office and see if they can get a coveted sick visit, knowing they’re likely to be squeezed in and spend a lot of time waiting? Or to visit an urgent care where they won’t have the personal relationship with the doctor treating them, but they’re much more likely to get in and out quickly?
As a primary care provider, this is probably a source of frustration for you as well. You became a doctor to heal illness and help people, right? Yet when your patients feel sick, they often choose to see someone else because of convenience.
So, what’s the best way to provide the convenience of urgent care without sacrificing patient experience?
In today’s ever-evolving healthcare landscape, many PCPs are trying a new model, that of a walk-in primary care clinic. With this model, you provide your patients with the benefits they expect from seeing their primary care doctor. You also provide the conveniences previously exclusive to an urgent care setting.
The Benefits: Improved patient experience & satisfaction
A Strong Provider-Patient Relationship
PCPs serve a distinct purpose – building a relationship with one provider who knows your medical history, and how best to treat you. That relationship cannot be duplicated in a 10-minute encounter with the staff doctor at your local urgent care. You know your patients’ medical history, their allergies, and preferences. Their best, most personalized care will come from you.
No Need to Make an Appointment
The biggest lure of an urgent care clinic is speed. When a patient is sick, they want taken care of without hassle. By switching to a walk-in model, you’re taking stress off your patients of wondering if they’ll be seen when they fall ill. This also eliminates the decision between being seen now at an urgent care or being seen by someone who knows their history. When they feel sick, they come in to see you, plain and simple. Overall, the convenient access to their PCP may positively impact patient experience and satisfaction.
Reduced Wait Times
For many patients, a sick appointment means they’re likely to spend a long time in the waiting room. People do not want to sit around and wait when they are feeling ill. This is another reason patients will opt to visit an urgent care; the wait is often shorter. The workload in an urgent care is a stream of walk-ins who are seen, diagnosed, and sent on their way. This happens without the well visits, follow ups, and chronic care appointments scattered in between. By using a walk-in model, you’ll be able to see patients as they arrive on a first-come, first-served basis. This will greatly reduce wait times for everyone, making your patients very happy and taking the stress of an over-packed schedule off of you.
Changing the way you see patients requires an adjustment period, but today’s patients are busy just like today’s doctors. They want the best care possible, but they don’t want to wait around for it. By moving toward a walk-in clinic model, you keep up with your patients’ needs which can help increase retention and loyalty. Maybe, just maybe, you take a little of the stress of schedule maintenance off of your own plate as well.
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I agree, one of the biggest benefits to a walk-in clinic is the lack of a need to schedule an appointment. After all, the whole purpose of a walk-in clinic is so that you can go in and get the help you need. It can be even more convenient if they offer weekend or extended hours.
Thanks for explaining how walk-in clinics can be useful because they do not require an appointment. It would be good to consider the location of a clinic before going so that you can get to them easily. My husband and I recently moved to a new area, so we’ll have to find a clinic nearby in case we need one.
I like how you said that a long-term relationship is made best with a doctor in a medical clinic that you can visit repeatedly. My wife and I have moved to a new area and we want to find a doctor that will allow us to make a good relationship with them. Hopefully, we can find a good clinic that has some good doctors!
I really like that there are reduced wait times when you go to a walk-in clinic. This is a great way to make sure that you are getting the best help possible. My sister would love knowing this as she looks into getting a quick help that she needs.
I have always liked the idea of building a relationship with a primary care provider. I want someone who knows my medical history, and who knows me and what I deal with. I want my kids to have that experience, so I will be looking for a primary care provider for my family.
I agree that people do not want to sit around and wait when they are feeling ill. When I am sick, I just want to make that illness stop. I think that it is awesome that a medical clinic or urgent care can reduce waiting times. That’s is something for me to remember next time I need to visit the doctor for a sickness.
My sister was not feeling well and we are all worried about her. It was explained here that going to a general health clinic will not make her wait for a long time before an appointment. Moreover, it’s recommended to go to a trusted health clinic for quality health care.
I do agree with you that often when we are sick we would rather have the primary care physician come and visit us. When I was seriously sick and could not get out of the bed, I did have that longing that the doctor would just come and check me. Since that is important for us, we will always be looking for primary care physician who can deliver that kind of service quickly when we need it the most.
You make a good point that patients who are sick do not want to wait for hours to see a doctor which is why walk-in appointments would be helpful. This way those who really need to see a doctor can, but this means they could still wait for a while. Either way, it’s important that the clinic is accommodating and ensure patients will receive the care they need in a timely manner.
I appreciate how you mentioned that the relationship between the healthcare provider and the patient is important because it allows them to get to know your medical history, and know the best way to treat you. My husband and I just moved into a new city, and we’re interested in finding the best healthcare service around. We’ll have to find one with medical professionals who genuinely care about our well-being and will work hard to ensure that we get the treatment that would be best for us.
I had never really thought about all of the benefits that you could gain from walk-in medical clinics, but you do make some pretty good points. One of the bigger benefits that you bring up would definitely be the reduced wait times. After all, if you do not have to worry about waiting too long to see a doctor then a walk-in clinic can be a fantastic benefit.
That is really nice that we wouldn’t have to make an appointment at a walk-in primary care clinic. That would definitely entice me to go and take my family there when they need medical attention. I will have to start looking for a family doctor who will take walk-ins.
My family and I just moved to a new part of the state, and we now need to find a doctor for everyone to see, I like that you explained a clinic that offers walk-in appointments is good because they are quick and hassle-free. I think this could be something to look for.
I think this is a great idea. I could see wait times increase for some and decrease for others. For those who have children and pay a babysitter and might not know when to be expected home could be inconvenient or for people that naturally show up after their kids have been dropped off to school, will all crowd the place out first thing in the morning. I feel that if a Dr’s office starts to follow this method, they might lose the individuality of the clinic because they are pushing people in and out at the speed the urgent care clinic does. I don’t like to be rushed when I’m at the doctor. So there are definitely good and bad ways to look at this when making changes such as this.
I liked that you explained that one of the best ways to be seen by a doctor is to have a primary doctor that you are affiliated with. I always ensure that I am going to the doctor for routine check-ups so that I can catch any health problems quickly. I will advise my husband to do the same.
I like how you talked about urgent clinics being quick. My wife and I have used an urgent care clinic before, and it was really nice to be seen by people who know us. Our health care is our number one concern, so it’s great to see the industry changing to make our lives better.