Walk in health clinic. The term signifies a great deal in the medical world, where many places and doctors and practices require appointments for the patient to be seen. And for many years, the only time a person could receive immediate medical treatment was the emergency room. This was a major issue for many.
In the 1980’s, a different kind of medical treatment modality started. It was based on the idea that patients needed to get immediate treatment for certain conditions, but they shouldn’t have to pay a large amount to get that treatment. This put them in-between two major treatment modalities: the emergency room and the primary care physician.
The emergency room then, like now, was a costly way to get treatment. But it was a place where patients could get immediate treatment for their illnesses and ailments. Even if the illness or ailment wasn’t life-threatening, people still had no other option that to go to the emergency room. This because the physician’s office didn’t take same day appointments.
Therein, the urgent care system was born. It started small but slowly grew across American until there are now thousands of urgent care centers in locations all around the country. There are some statistics that help with the understanding of urgent care systems and centers. They are:
- 3 million patients visit them each week, according to the Urgent Care Association of America.
- There are currently 20,000 physicians who practice Urgent Care Medicine.
- 85% of urgent care centers are open seven days a week.
- The most common diagnosis in an urgent care center was upper respiratory condition, and the most common procedure was wound repair in 2012.
- Four out of five urgent care centers provide fracture care.
- Dizziness is the second most common complaint heard in doctor’s offices, and will occur in 70% of people in their lives.
- It has been estimated that 65% of individuals older than 60 years of age experience dizziness or loss of balance.
- Reports estimate that 25,000 Americans suffer from an ankle sprain each day.
- More than 80% of ankle sprains are a result of inversion, or inward rolling, of the ankle.
Urgent care centers provide two things that are important to the American medical population: They offer immediate service as a walk in health clinic, meaning no appointment has to be made; and they offer what some would say is a strong level of treatment, complete with diagnostic equipment and mid-level providers.
The urgent care center functions because it provides similar services as the lowest form of treatment versus the highest form of treatment. The primary care physician provides the lowest amount of treatment, while the emergency room provides the highest form of treatment. Urgent care is the in-between.
Like the emergency room, the urgent care center is a walk in health clinic, meaning that a patient doesn’t need to make an appointment to get seen. But unlike the emergency room, an urgent care center is more affordable for everyday Americans. An emergency room visit without insurance would run into the thousands of dollars.
The same situation as a patient at an urgent care center would run into the hundreds.
Like the emergency room, the urgent care center has a good ability to diagnose patients with conditions such as dizziness, fractures, broken bones, lacerations, and more. While an urgent care center doesn’t have the most sophisticated equipment or the best doctors, it does well for conditions that are serious and urgent but not life-threatening.
The primary care physician’s office provides the lowest level of care within the medical world. Appointments are made, followed on, and a doctor sees a patient for a few minutes while looking into the issues and diagnosing them. But the primary care physician usually doesn’t see patients on the same day they have an issue.
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An urgent care facility is one that treats patients on a walk in basis, meaning they don’t need to have an appointment, and treats them with a good amount of care compared to the primary care physician.