There are many circumstances where waiting for an appointment to see a normal doctor just isn’t going to cut it, but too often people choose to go to the emergency room where there is a convenient walk-in urgent care option available. In fact, according to the results of one study, somewhere around 44 to 65 percent of all ER visits could have easily been treated in a walk-in urgent care clinic.
Urgent care tends to be open more hours than a traditional medical care setting, and like an emergency room, they can treat walk-in patients. According to figures taken in 2014, 97 percent of all walk-in urgent care centers are conveniently open seven days a week, and 99 percent of them are open at least four hours a day. Some of them are located right in a hospital building, while other clinics stand alone and solely operate as urgent care at all times.
One upside to choosing a walk-in urgent care over an emergency room is that you can skip the wait at urgent care. An emergency room is dealing with everything at once from a patient with a sudden sore throat to a patient in a life-threatening emergency. Naturally, they have to prioritize based on severity, which means that minor inconveniences like itchy eyes might end up waiting for a while. At a walk-in urgent care, on the other hand, patients are seen in the order that they arrive, and no health issue is too small.
It’s also worth noting that many urgent care options offer more affordable care than visiting an ER and that they’re staffed with trusted experts in emergency care. For example, you might spend $2,039 on a standard emergency room visit for something that could have been treated at an urgent care, while the cost for the same treatment at an urgent care facility might only cost you $226. That’s quite a difference. You don’t have to worry that your experience will be less than at an urgent care, you might even find that the skilled efficiency offers a better medical experience than many other options. It’s essentially getting the off hours benefit of ER care without the wait.