Urgent care centers treat non-life-threatening conditions and injuries. They serve as the go-to care provider when your doctor is unavailable but your life isn’t on the line. With extended and evening hours, urgent care facilities are often more accessible than your primary care physician but less costly and time consuming than the ER.
An emergency department visit costs on average $1,500, while a visit to the urgent care facility comes it at less than $150 on average. A survey conducted by The Urgent Care Association of America found that 57% of patients who visited an urgent care clinic had to wait no more than 15 minutes to be seen. Around 80% of visits lasted one hour or less. What’s more, urgent care clinics
Many of the the 6,800 urgent care centers in the U.S. today are expanding their services. They’re working to offer a wider range of services from physical exams to medical tests such as local STD testing. Here are a few medical tests you may not have realized you could receive from your local urgent care facility:
- Local STD testing
A number of urgent care facilities provide local STD testing. Since they are often open after-hours and sometimes even provide 24-hour care, urgent car centers can be a great option for local STD testing if you’re unable or embarrassed to go during regular business hours. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and hepatitis B and C are a few of the STD tests available at many urgent care centers. Check if your urgent care walk in clinic provides local STD testing.
- UTI testing
Urinary tract infections should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent them from worsening. Both men and women can get a urinary infection when bacteria is able to enter the urinary tract. Symptoms of an UTI include frequent urination or feeling the need to urinate but having very little actually come out, and burning sensations during urination. Women may also experience pain around their pelvic area. If you think you may have an UTI, visit your local urgent care center for a test.
- TB testing
Tuberculosis testing is another medical service provided by urgent care centers. The test is performed using a skin test to determine if you have the bacterium that causes TB. It requires two visits to the urgent care center. In the first visit, if you haven’t already been vaccinated against TB, you’ll be given a shot. Between 48 and 72 hours later, you’ll need to return to the clinic to determine if you’ve had a strong reaction to the shot.
- EKG testing
An EKG, or electrocardiogram, test is a non-invasive procedure to look at the electrical activity in your heart. There are a number of reasons your doctor may order an EKG be it as part of a routine annual exam or to assess unexplained cardiovascular trouble such as chest pain or palpitations. Whatever the reason for an EKG, if your physician’s office can’t provide one or is too backed up, try visiting an urgent care center instead.
- Employer drug testing
Alcohol and drug abuse can cause health and safety hazards in the workplace. As such, many employers require their employees to be tested. Unless they are subject to Federal regulations, most employers have a fair amount of leeway in implementing drug tests. Urinalysis is the most common method of drug testing and can be done at the workplace or other site chosen by your employer, such as your local urgent care center.
Urgent care centers are for more than urgent care
While urgent care centers are designed to provide care for urgent but non-life threatening conditions, you may be surprised by the variety of services they offer. Nearly 66% of urgent care center staffs include physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Almost the same number will have at least one physician on-site whenever they’re open. If you need local STD testing, think you may have a UTI or TB, or if your doctor has ordered an EKG or your employer a drug test, call your local urgent care clinic to see if they can provide the test for you. You may be surprised at the answer.