The Benefits of Urgent Care Settings

Phoenix walk in clinic

You have probably heard of urgent care centers by now. They are a medical treatment option that was actually designed many years ago, but have only recently begun to take off. Patients of urgent care settings are noticing the many benefits that urgent care centers offer and are choosing them over both regular physician?s offices and emergency departments. It is only expected that the popularity and awareness of benefits of urgent care offices will continue to grow, and we will see more and more of them around our cities.

They are more time efficient than other medical treatment options. Most people relate a visit to their primary care provider?s office with a long wait. They may be forced to wait for over an hour, simply to speak with their doctor for a few minutes. The wait times at the local emergency department may be even longer, often to be rushed out of the room quickly.

Urgent patient care centers, however, have less wait times and the physicians are able to spend more time with each patient. According to a survey by The Urgent Care Association of America, 57% of patients wait 15 minutes or less to be seen, and about 80% of all visits are 60 minutes or less. In fact, some patients who may find it difficult to schedule appointments because of busy work or life schedules may choose to only visit urgent patient care centers, when medical care is needed. The hours for urgent care settings tend to fit better with many people?s schedules.

Urgent care centers can be more cost effective than emergency departments. Sometimes, an after hours medical visit is necessary. There are many medical emergencies that cannot wait until regular physician offices are open. Visiting an emergency department, even with adequate insurance coverage, can be very expensive. Urgent patient care centers tend to be more cost effective. The typical emergency department visit costs an average of $1,500, while treatment at an urgent care center costs, on average, under $150.

Urgent patient care clinics can be more confidential. Although primary physician offices are supposed to be confidential, multiple visits can make you familiar with the staff. You can even get to know your primary medical provider. This can be uncomfortable for some medical conditions that you would prefer have more confidentiality. Many urgent care centers also have the ability to provide confidential testing, such as pregnancy testing or cheap STD testing. The patient can even decide if they want their testing records sent to their primary physician or not.

Urgent care centers free up emergency rooms for real emergencies. Most people have felt guilty for visiting their local emergency department for a severe cold that they simply wanted relief for. They were unable to visit their primary physician because of scheduling conflicts, but still wanted to be seen by a medical professional. The urgent medical center frees up the emergency room in these types of situations. A 2010 study by the Rand Corporation found that nearly 1 in 5 visits to the hospital ERs could be treated at urgent care centers, potentially saving $4.4 billion annually in health care costs.

Urgent care centers are convenient, because they are all over. An emergency room may be up to an hour drive from some people. The hour drive with the long wait times can result in an entire night spent for minimal treatment and a required follow up with the primary physician. You can likely find urgent care centers all over your city, some maybe even within walking distance. Urgent care centers are popping up all over, because people expect them to be nearby.

Urgent care centers are becoming more widespread and common for medical treatment options. Patients are quickly learning of their many benefits over traditional medical care options, such as a primary care physician?s office and the local emergency department. Patients enjoy the convenient after hours care, the lessened wait times, the lowered prices, and the ability to free up the emergency rooms, and the increase in confidentiality. You can expect to see more and more urgent care centers taking the place of traditional health care options.

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