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The Doctor is in.jpg
Whether a given amenity serves walk-in customers or requires customers to enroll. Particularly of interest for healthcare. Edit or translate this description.
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Status: in use

This tag documents whether an amenity serves walk-in customers, or if it requires customers to enroll before serving them.

The tag is not widely used and there is no wide consensus as to whether this tag is different or more applicable than reservation=* or booking=*.

Healthcare in Ontario

The original editor meant for this to document a distinction Ontario's health care system makes:

  • a "walk-in clinic" is a doctor's office that serves anyone that walks in the door
  • regular doctor's offices require that a patient register/enroll with them, and in some areas often do not register new patients due to lack of doctor time

Of course any amenity=doctors will help you if you stumble in the door bleeding, but for less acute illnesses it might be of interest whether you can expect to walk in the door and be seen by a doctor: unexpected headaches, non-severe pains, sick notes, etc.

  • walk-in=no: medical practice does not normally serve walk-in patients. Usually "doctor's office", "family clinic". In Ontario, a medical practice that does not prominently advertise itself as a walk-in clinic is likely walk-in=no.
  • walk-in=yes: medical practice serves walk-in patients. In Ontario often called a "walk-in clinic" but usually better tagged as amenity=doctors + walk-in=yes. Walk-in clinics might allow people to make appointments - the distinction is that anyone can make an appointment.
  • walk-in=only: medical practice that only serves walk-in patients, and does not register/"roster" any patients permanently. It might be difficult to confirm in quick surveys whether a practice is walk-in=only or yes - if in doubt, default to yes as it is less strict (leaves open possibility that the practice might enroll patients in addition to serving walk-in patients).

Differences from "reservation" or "booking"

There also exist:

  • reservation=* - whether a reservation, e.g. by phone, is recommended before visiting an amenity
  • booking=* - indicates whether booking is possible or even required at an amenity; or if it is first-come, first-serve

In the healthcare system in Ontario, a patient can only be registered with at most one primary-care doctor at a time, and the doctor is then the default primary care provider until deregistration or registration with another doctor. (Doctors are paid by the system for serving/quasi-"owning" patients.)

In contrast, getting an appointment at a hairdresser or a restaurant, or making a camp site booking, is often a matter of calling and giving your name and phone number, and there is no expectation that you won't go elsewhere next week.

Enrolling: you are connected with this doctor and they are your default provider from now on. Appointment or reservation: "please hold a spot for me at 6pm".