Patients seem to be fed up with having to adapt their own schedules to fit in with what's convenient for the doctor. "Cost-conscious patients facing higher health plan deductibles have helped make walk-in clinics one of the fastest-growing sectors in the health care market. With no appointments required and most insurance accepted, advocates say, "the clinics bring a patient-first consumerism to the nation's outmoded health care delivery system" (mcclatchydc.com).
Some 20,000 physicians currently staff the nation's 9,300 stand-alone urgent care centers, according to the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine. The AAUCM reports that each center handles about 14,000 patient visits a year and projects that the number of urgent care centers will grow by 20 percent for the next several years.