When it comes to a general checkup it usually makes the most sense to make a future appointment with a general practitioner, but so often last minute needs pop up that don’t fit into a doctor’s busy schedule. For that reason, a lot of people end up making visits to the emergency room to get immediate treatment. While that is one option, visiting an urgent care is generally more appropriate for treating urgent medical needs.
Urgent care centers function like something in between the emergency room and the regular doctor. Since the more extreme emergencies go to the emergency room, an urgent care has more time and space to deal urgent medical needs that aren’t life threatening. At an overcrowded emergency room you might end up waiting for hours to be treated for something as simple as itchy eyes, but about 60 percent of all urgent care centers will get you seen by a doctor in less than 15 minutes.
Almost all urgent care centers are open every day, and 99 percent of them are open for at least four hours a day. With speedy wait times that is usually plenty of time for a same day appointment. Some studies have suggested that 44 to 65 percent of visits to the emergency room could have been properly handled in an urgent care clinic.
Some examples of things that are better handled at an urgent care center than an emergency room include minor rashes, coughs, infections, or anything that needs treatment but isn’t life threatening. Using an urgent care center for those types of needs not only makes the process faster for you, but it also clears out the emergency rooms so that they can more quickly treat the higher stakes emergencies.
Getting treated at an urgent care center is not only easy, but it can also offer affordable care for those urgent medical needs. The best urgent care is generally still offered at very low prices whether or not you have insurance, which can save a ton of money compared to a visit to the emergency room.
Some reports state that getting $2,039 worth of treatments at the emergency room could have been handled for $226 at an urgent care facility. Despite the cheaper prices, urgent care treatment is still top quality. Around 50 percent of all urgent care centers are owned by a physician or a team of physicians.