When you get a fracture or a laceration, is your first thought about going to the emergency room? If so, you may be surprised to know that a new form and method of treatment is available to receive accurate, personable, efficient, and quality care at a fraction of what an emergency room visit would cost, but with equal amount of efficacy.
That type of treatment is called the urgent care center. Today, there are 20,000 physicians who practice Urgent Care Medicine. In fact, an estimated three million patients visit urgent care centers each week, according to the Urgent Care Association of America. And 85% of urgent care centers are open seven days per week.
That all means a great deal when it comes to medicine.
For instance, have you ever tried to make a doctor’s appointment but found that he or she or the practice in general was booked for a few days. And that the only time they’d be able to see you was a week out? This may be a common problem with doctors’ offices around the country. The ability to see patients quickly is an important practice in medicine.
That’s part of the reason why urgent care centers have grown at a rapid pace in terms of popularity. Urgent care centers are often open seven days per week and they see patients on a walk-in basis, meaning you do not have to have an appointment. This is important as many injuries require immediate assistance.
From severe bruising to sudden infections to lacerations on various parts of the body, a patient may want to get this looked at immediately, rather than wait for a doctor’s appointment that might be a week away.
Urgent care centers are also more valuable from a treatment standpoint because physicians are present at almost all of them all of the time. It is also rare if there is not a mid-level physician in the house, someone who can be looked to for guidance for more difficult cases.
When it comes to injuries and illnesses Americans face:
- Every year, Americans get 1 billion colds
- Reports estimate that 25,000 Americans suffer an ankle sprain each day
- On average, between 5% and 20% of Americans come down with the flu each year
- And urinary tract infections account for 8.1 million visits to the doctor each year
All of these and many more injuries and illnesses are treatable at an urgent care center. Urgent care centers have all the equipment necessary to treat fractures and sprains, as they, for instance, have x-ray rooms and other imaging equipment. With physicians on staff, the ability to treat most illnesses is present.
Urgent care centers are also much more affordable than being admitted to the emergency room. Emergency rooms are expensive, often to the tune of hundreds if not thousands of dollars, even after insurance covers a large portion of the bill. Urgent centers provide care that is much less costly than that.
Urgent care centers are useful for patients who are stuck between making an appointment with their primary care physician and going to the emergency room. The degree of their illness or injury of course helps determine this but in general urgent care centers offer a strong possibility in the continuum of care.
They are fitted in between the primary care physician and the emergency room, by offering many high level treatments for illnesses while at the same time allowing for the walk-in feature of the emergency room, with a fraction of the cost.
And urgent care centers are becoming more popular as well with each passing year. While at the beginning there were just a few hundred urgent care centers, now the number of urgent care centers has reached thousands, with many even popping up in less medically available regions such as rural communities.
The importance of urgent care cannot be understated. For many who lack a primary care physician, urgent care is their one stop shop for all their health and medical needs. They get treatment that they want at the price that is affordable to them and get their medical needs taken care of.
Lastly, it goes to show the popularity of urgent care centers by the number of physicians who are choosing that route to practice their profession at these facilities.