"Open access" scheduling grows more popular

Primary care physicians may not be sure what to do about competition from retail clinics--but this may be an option. Slowly but surely, clinics are trying new ways to make themselves flexible and accessible in ways that hadn't been common before. In Portland, for example, ZoomCare is open 362 days a year, offers evening hours, and accepts walk-in patients. Not only can they walk in, they can go online to schedule appointments and see how long their wait time will be. Zoomcare was profitable in 2007, and patient volume is growing 20 percent per quarter.

Other area competitors include Family Physicians Group of Vancouver, WA and Greenfield Health. Those practices deliver 80 percent of their care via e-mail and telephone calls. Patients pay between $295 and $495 per year for care to get access to these more-flexible services.

To find out more about this model:
- read this Portland Business Journal piece