UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Access to Episodic Primary Care : A Cross-sectional Comparison of Walk-in Clinics and Urgent Primary Care Centers in British Columbia McCracken, Mary A.; Cooper, Ian R.; Hamilton, Michee-Ana; Klimas, Jan; Lindsay, Cameron; Fletcher, Sarah; Price, Morgan; Hedden, Lindsay; McCracken, Rita


Background: Walk-in clinics are non-hospital based primary care facilities that are designed to operate without appointments and provide increased healthcare access with extended hours. Urgent Primary Care Centres (UPCCs) were introduced to British Columbia (BC) in 2018 as an additional primary care resource that provides urgent, but not emergent care during extended hours. This study identifies publicly-reported access characteristics for episodic primary care in BC, and provides a clinic-level comparison between walk-in clinics and UPCCs. Methodology: This cross-sectional study used publicly available data from all walk-in clinics and UPCCs in BC. A structured data collection form was used to record access characteristics from clinic websites, including business hours, weekend availability, attachment to a longitudinal family practice, and provision of virtual services. Results: In total, 268 clinics were included in the analysis (243 walk-in clinics, 25 UPCCs). Of those, 225 walk-in clinics (92.6%) and two UPCCs (8.0%) were attached to a longitudinal family practice. Only 153 (63%) walk-in clinics offered weekend services, compared to 24 (96%) of UPCCs. Walk-in clinics offer the majority (8,968.6/ 78.4%) of their service hours between 08:00 and 17:00, Monday to Friday. UPCCs offer the majority (889.3/ 53.7%) of their service hours after 17:00. Conclusion: Most walk-in clinics are associated with a longitudinal family practice and provide the majority of clinic services during typical business hours. More research that includes patient characteristics and care outcomes, analyzed at the clinic level, may be useful to support the optimization of episodic primary health care delivery.

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