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WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The news that Take Care Health Systems now enables patients to schedule an appointment online, as well as in the clinic, is important as it further demonstrates the clinic operator’s commitment to delivering convenient access to high-quality, affordable healthcare services. Furthermore, the added convenience comes at a time when the convenient care industry is gearing up for growth.
(THE NEWS: Take Care Clinics now offering real-time appointment scheduling option, click here.)
As the article states, patients can schedule appointments online, as well as access a cost menu to evaluate the cost of services and get up-to-date information on patient satisfaction scores.
While wait times vary by location, time of day and season, patients typically experience less than a 20-minute wait before a healthcare provider sees them. Patient visits generally take 20 minutes, which means they can be in and out in less than an hour.
To find out the wait time at a specific location, patients log on to the site, enter their location and the location finder will list all the nearby Take Care Clinic addresses and expected wait times:
- Short: less than 30 minutes;
- Medium: 30 to 60 minutes;
- Long: more than one hour; and
- Very long: more than two hours.
The added convenience comes as all signs point to growth for the convenient care industry. As previously reported by Drug Store News, a recent Rand Corp. study found that the use of retail-based health clinics increased tenfold between 2007 and 2009.
The study identified the strongest predictors of retail clinic usage as being:
- Distance (close proximity);
- Age (ages 18 to 44 years, those older than age 65 years were excluded);
- Health (no chronic illnesses);
- Income (those from zip codes with median incomes of more than $59,000); and
- Sex (women were more likely to use clinics than men).
It also is important to note that the American Journal of Managed Care, which published the study, stated that if the trends within the convenient care industry continue, then health plans can expect to see a dramatic increase in clinic usage.