If you have a non-life-threatening injury or illness that’s still serious enough to need to be seen by a doctor, visiting an urgent care express is a good alternative to heading to the emergency room if your regular physician isn’t available. Unfortunately, many people’s tendency is to turn directly to the ER — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that just under half of adult patients who weren’t sick enough to be admitted to the hospital had gone to the ER because their doctors’ offices were closed. This clogs up emergency rooms with cases that aren’t life-or-death and creates more work for already at-capacity hospital staff. Plus, it’s unpleasant for the patients, who often face long wait times and high hospital bills! So let’s talk about why urgent care express is the way to go.
What Do I Need to Know About Urgent Care Centers?
Urgent care centers help fill in the gap in medical care between the doctor’s office and the hospital. There’s a qualified physician available at almost every urgent care center during their hours of operations and about half of urgent care centers are owned by a physician or a group of physicians.
Furthermore, urgent care centers provide quality care at a fraction of the price and can assist patients with a wide variety of medical manners — from flu vaccinations to IV fluids, in some cases.
Just under 22% have over 450 visits from patients a week and they’re linked in to a variety of technology. Around 40% of urgent care centers use electronic prescription ordering systems and others use computerized systems to look at lab and imaging results and to take down patient information.
What are the Advantages of Using Urgent Care Over the Emergency Room?
Around 60% of all urgent care centers can confidently say that their wait time for patients to be seen by a physician or mid-level provider is under 15 minutes. The Urgent Care Association of America can give more specific statistics. A recent survey showed that just under 60% wait 15 minutes or less before being seen and around 70% of the total visits are an hour or less. That’s good for you: get in, get out, and go about your day like usual.
So your kid comes down with a high fever at night or you badly sprain your ankle in the early morning. Or you need medical attention, but you can’t miss work. What do you do? Luckily, urgent care centers offer extended hours to accommodate these concerns. Over 65% of urgent care centers are open before 9:00 am during the week and just under half do so on Saturday. And over 90% of centers stay open until 7:00 pm or later on weeknights.
An emergency room bill can be a steep one, especially if it’s out of network. That’s worth it if you have a life-threatening emergency, but not if you’ve broken out in a rash that’s itchy and uncomfortable, for example. Urgent care centers offer quality medical care for a much lower price and most work with a wide variety of insurances.
What Services Can I Receive at an Urgent Care Express Center?
Urgent care centers can help treat you if you have an accident or fall, minor broken bones, sprains, or strains, or if you’re having difficulty breathing. High fevers or the flu, or a bad sore throat or cough, can also been treated at urgent care. If you have a skin rash, infection, a urinary tract infection, or can’t stop vomiting, you probably want to get checked out at an urgent care center.
However, they can also do more mundane things, like provide a physical or a flu vaccination. About 80% can offer fracture care and around 70% can give IV fluids if necessary.
Next time you find yourself needing medical services and your doctor’s office is closed, consider visiting an urgent care express near you, instead of heading straight to the emergency room.