If you’re having a medical emergency, there’s only one place to go: the emergency room. If you suspect a stroke, a heart attack, or are having any other very concerning symptoms, the emergency room is your best bet, as they can provide you with the high quality of care and treatment that you are likely in need of. The emergency room can also be ideal for the treatment of major injuries, injuries that can prove to be life threatening if they go without treatment for too long.
Far too frequently, however, people seek medical care in emergency rooms for concerns that are far from emergencies. From minor injuries to minor illnesses, such visits clog up emergency rooms and increase wait times to an average of nearly one full hour, if not even longer than that. Going to an emergency rooms for minor medical ailments and concerns is far from ideal for the patient as well, as emergency rooms, though accepting of even those who do not have medical insurance, can be incredibly and shockingly expensive. It’s not uncommon for the average emergency room visit to cost more than $1,000 at the end of the day – even after insurance has been factored into the final total.
But what’s the alternative? For many people, it will be a nearby urgent care center. Nearby urgent care centers are become more prevalent than ever before as the demand for nearby urgent care locations grows, as well. Nowadays, as many as 20,000 highly trained and skilled doctors are employed at urgent care locations throughout the country, and up to three million people will receive treatment at their nearby urgent care centers over the course of just one week. In fact, up to 65% of all cases seen at a local emergency room could have easily been treated at a nearly urgent care center instead.
But what is the incentive for any patient to choose a nearby urgent care center over a hospital emergency room for emergency care? For one thing, a nearby urgent care center is likely to have a much shorter wait time than the typical emergency room. In fact, more than 90% of all urgent care locations throughout this country have average wait times that do not exceed a mere half of an hour. And up to 60% of all urgent care centers have an average wait time that is as short as 15 minutes. Most urgent care patients are in and out the door in no more than an hour, making going to an urgent care clinic ideal for those living busy lives, those who are without the time needed not only to go to an emergency room, but to schedule an appointment with a general care practitioner as well.
In addition to this, your nearby urgent care center is likely to be able to treat a wide array of conditions than you might realize. While many people think of urgent care centers as only able to treat very minor medical concerns, this is actually far from the case (though, of course, it is still very important to take real medical emergencies to the nearest emergency room as quickly as is humanly possible). After all, less than 5% of all cases seen at any given urgent care location will actually need to be transferred from the urgent care center to the nearest hospital.
For a variety of injuries, urgent care centers are often particularly ideal. In fact, up to 80% out of all urgent care centers can actually both diagnose and treat fractures, a service that will save patients a great deal of money and time in comparison to what they would spend (of both) at their nearest emergency room. Many a nearby urgent care center will also be able to provide stitches, particularly to more minor gashes and wounds. And up to 70% of all urgent care locations can even provide IV fluids to those who are in need of them.
Of course, more minor concerns such as ear infections can be treated as well. UTIs can also be treated, and viral infections like the flu and the common cold can typically be diagnosed with ease.