The Center for Advancing Health published a clear description of how these facilities function.
No need to plan a visit days or weeks in advance, no long waits, and a published price list -- the fact that these might be disruptive innovations in healthcare delivery speaks the truth that the shape of the U.S. system was forged around interests other than those of patients.
There are detractors who may have some valid concerns. The American Academy of Family Physicians opposes management of chronic conditions through these facilities.
In plain English, that means that these doctors think patients need their expertise to manage complicated, interacting illnesses. And since medical records don't easily flow between systems, they fear subsequent providers will never learn about a convenience care user's prior conditions and care. This seems realistic.
In 2008, the journal Health Affairs reported on a study that addressed the continuity of care issue.
I've never availed myself of a retail clinic. By accident of past employment, I've been ensconced for 20 years in the nation's largest, and probably best, managed care plan, Kaiser Permanente. I can see a doctor within a day if I need one and they insistently chase me down for immunizations and preventative tests. But if I didn't have Kaiser, I'd probably explore these cut rate options for simple conditions.
Does anyone who reads here use these clinics? Any experiences to share?