There are many things that one must think about when it comes to getting proper medical care. For one thing, availability is a critical factor when it comes to medical help. Unfortunately, the average doctor’s office will not be open every single day of the week or even in the early mornings or later into the evening. For many people, the next alternative might seem to be the nearest emergency room.
However, going to an emergency room can most certainly be less than ideal, thanks to the fact that most emergency rooms have incredibly long waiting periods for people who do not come in with very urgent medical concerns. And even once you get a bed, waiting for care and treatment – and ultimately discharge – can take even longer than that. When you go to the emergency room for really any reason, you should be prepared to spend the next few hours of your life there. And this is not the only issue you might face while in an emergency room or in its aftermath. After all, emergency room care is also very expensive indeed. Sadly, it now costs, on average, more than $1,000 to get care in the emergency room (even for relatively minor issues), a sum of money that far too many people simply will just not have access to. Therefore, one must find a viable alternative to emergency room care.
For many, that alternative will come in the form of the urgent care center. Urgent care centers can be found all throughout the country, staffing as many as 20,000 doctors. And urgent care centers have grown more popular as well, serving as many as three million patients throughout the course of a single week. This means that, in a year, urgent care centers will help nearly 90 million patients. As of the year of 2016, there were already more than 7,000 urgent care centers found throughout the country. Fortunately, this number has only continued to grow in the years that have transpired since – and will only continue growing in the years that are ahead of us as well.
And going to urgent care centers is a far better alternative to the typical emergency room. After all, up to 90% of all urgent care locations do not have wait times that extend past 30 minutes – at least not on average. And up to 60% of all urgent care centers even boast average wait times of no greater than a mere 15 minutes, showing how convenient urgent care clinics can be. As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon for someone to arrive, receive urgent care treatment, and go along their way all within the span of an hour, something that is just about unheard of in any given hospital setting, to say the very least.
And the hours for which urgent care centers open their doors are also more extensive than your typical doctor’s office, something that further means urgent care centers can provide a viable care alternative to emergency room care. In fact, the vast majority of all urgent care centers are open for at least four hours every single day, if not even longer. Some, though certainly not all, are even open every single hour of the day, every single day of the week (though this is not necessarily the norm for urgent care centers).
The quality of care that is provided in these urgent care centers is also impressive, making them competitive against hospital emergency rooms. Though true and life threatening medical emergencies should certainly always still be directed to your nearest emergency room, urgent care centers are capable of treating more complex cases than you might have thought, able to handle as much as 97% of the cases that come through their doors, less than 5% needing to be transferred to the hospital. And up to a full 80% of all urgent care centers can even provide diagnosis for and treatment of fractures, something that is also very important and impressive, to say the very least.
At the end of the day, there are a great many things to consider when it comes to urgent care centers here in the U.S.