More people are using walk-in clinics to obtain medical care, based on a recent report produced by Harris Interactive and HealthDay.

Harris Interactive surveyed 3,036 adults in the U.S. over the age of 18 about their use of retail health clinics located in pharmacies, superstores and workplaces. The survey reported that usage of walk-in clinics has increased 7 percent since 2008 and is expected to continue to grow.

The poll revealed that 27 percent of adults have used any type of walk-in clinic for medical care, with 19 percent using a clinic at a retail site and 11 percent using a work-based onsite clinic.

Key factors linked to respondents’ use of walk-in clinics are age, physician shortages and convenience.

Age Matters

The study showed that young adults between the ages of 25 and 29 are more likely to use a walk-in clinic. Forty percent of this group had visited a clinic, which compares to 15 percent for adults ages 65 and older.

Shortage of Primary Care Physicians

The shortage of primary care physicians makes adults more likely to drop into a retail clinic for some acute care services. Respondents used these clinics to obtain:

  • Cold or flu treatment, reported by 38 percent
  • Flu shots, 32 percent
  • Prescriptions, 30 percent
  • Minor cut or wound treatment, 19 percent
  • General check-ups, 15 percent

Few respondents indicated they would use a retail clinic for more serious concerns.

Convenience

Consumers’ desire for easy access to affordable medical care fuels the growth of walk-in clinics. Most walk-in clinics do not require an appointment and have affordable prices. They also have convenient locations, short waiting times and accessible hours.

The survey found that adults’ top reasons for using a walk-in clinic were:

  • 58 percent used a retail walk-in clinic because they did not need to make an appointment.
  • 51 percent said the location of the clinic was convenient.
  • Almost 38 percent of the respondents said they did not have to wait as long to see a medical professional.

Read the full report produced by Harris Interactive/HealthDay here.