Since urgent care centers are becoming more prevalent, it’s important to consider them as a beneficial alternative to visiting the hospital emergency room. Individuals and their families can receive expert medical care at these facilities for a fraction of the cost.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 48% of the adults that went to the emergency room weren’t sick enough to be admitted to the hospital. The primary reason they went to the emergency room, according to the CDC, was because their primary care physicians’ offices weren’t open.
During the week, 66% of these centers are open before 9:00 a.m. in the morning. Due to this, they are a convenient option for individuals that need to take their children to school or be at work. Roughly 90.6% of these centers will also see patients until 7:00 p.m. or later during the week. Two out of five urgent care centers will remain open to see patients up until 9:00 p.m., and in some cases, even later.
A certain percentage of urgent care centers are also open on Saturdays and Sundays. The results of a recent survey showed that 45.7% are open on Saturdays and 31.1% are open on Sundays.
Patients don’t have to wait as long as they would at the hospital emergency room, either. At 60% of these centers, patients are usually able to see a primary care physician or mid-level provider within 15 minutes. The Urgent Care Association of America’s survey showed that 57% of patients only needed to wait 15 minutes or less, and 80% of these visits usually lasted an hour or less. Furthermore, 65% of urgent care locations always have a physician at their site.
While each urgent care facility may offer unique services, 70% are able to provide intravenous fluids when they are needed. Fracture care can be provided by 80% of urgent care centers as well. Treatments are available for a variety of ear, nose, and throat infections. Urgent care services include testing for a variety of health issues that require lab work, such as strep throat.
It’s also important to note that 40% of these centers have an electronic prescription ordering system in place. In addition to being able to view lab and imaging results on computerized systems, patient demographics, billing, medical coding, and clinical notes are conveniently available.
When someone is experiencing a life-threatening issue, such as a heart attack, they should go to the hospital. However, when an urgent medical issue arises, which includes infections, wounds, and fractures, these individuals can usually be taken care of at an urgent care facility.