In just the United States, there are about 6,800 urgent care centers, so when you are trying to decide if to go to one as well as which one, the job can be quite daunting! I’m here to tell you a few things that will help you in your decision. You may be wondering if going to an urgent care is even important or if you should just wait to see your regular primary care doctor because you do not know the difference between an emergency room and an urgent care center. Well, after reading this you may just choose to visit your local urgent care to have them run a test or two before going anywhere else!
- 1. You’ve heard about the long waits in the emergency room, I’m sure. Well, urgent care centers are a whole different story. The Urgent Care Association of America ran a survey that stated that 57 percent of patients only end up waiting at the most 15 minutes to be seen. It also states that about 80 percent of each visit is 60 minutes or possibly even less. Sometimes, it takes longer than that to see your primary care physician. If your doctor is running behind you can end up waiting half an hour or more not to mention how long the appointment itself ends up at times. Let’s not even mention the hours upon hours that you sometimes have to wait in an emergency room even if you are just waiting on a simple test!
- 2. Almost 75% of urgent care centers employ a wide range of medical professionals from physicians and nurse practitioners to physician assistants. 65% of urgent care can guarantee having at least one physician at the center at all times.
- 3. Cost is a huge issue when it comes to comparing an emergency room to an urgent care center. The standard visit to an emergency department can cost upwards of $1,500 but if you are seen at an urgent care that amount can go down to less than $150. That is too big of a difference to ignore! When the statistic of children catching colds is between six and ten times per year, this is important to consider.
- 4. Although urgent cares have many of the same equipment and access as an emergency room, they do not deal with life threatening cases which are what makes an urgent room a much more relaxed atmosphere. An ER however deals with emergent and non-emergent issues. All the non-emergent issues could go to an urgent care and spend less money, wait less time, and receive higher than standard care. Rand Corporation put out a study in 2010 and said that they realized that almost one in five visits made to hospital ERs could have actually been treated at an urgent care center, which could have saved $4.4 billion annually in health-care costs!
- 5. All kinds of testing can be run at an urgent care center. Anywhere from an std test to pediatric testing.
Here you can see the many benefits of choosing urgent care locations rather than the emergency department. Which will you decide on?