Earlier this year, like many other cities around the country, Boston had a bit of a flu scare. On January 9, after 700 cases had been reported, Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared a public health emergency. To compare, only 70 cases were reported for the entire flu season of 2012.
That evening I stopped into CVS pharmacy and was alarmed to see the waiting area overflowing. There were so many people that the only space available space to sit was on the floor.
They were all there to get a flu shot at the MinuteClinic.
On my walk home I passed the neighborhood health center, which is affiliated with a major hospital. The waiting room was nearly empty.
Remember when we weren't all that worried about retail health?
The popularity of walk-in health clinics has been on the rise nationwide. According to a Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll, 27% of adults said they have used either walk-in retail clinics (19%) or work-based clinics (11%) to receive medical year in the past two years. In 2008, just 7% gave the same response.