The Urgent Care Association of America estimates that three million individuals visit these centers every week. As more people learn about the types of issues that can be treated at urgent care centers, they may be less inclined to visit their local hospital’s emergency room. Miliman’s private study, for example, showed that roughly 44% to 65% of the issues treated in a traditional hospital emergency room could have been handled at an urgent care clinic instead.
The time it takes to see a physician or physician’s assistant is usually 15 minutes or less at approximately 60% of the existing urgent care clinics. It’s important to note that there is always an on-site physician at 65% of these facilities. Another benefit of visiting an urgent care clinic is that advanced appointments don’t need to be made, which is an added convenience. An appointment at an urgent care clinic also costs considerably less than its hospital emergency room counterpart. In some instances, services may be free or based on a sliding scale.
An urgent care clinic’s medical staff can diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. This includes ankle sprains, fractures, and dizziness. It’s important for families with infants, young children, and teenagers to know that 24 hour pediatric urgent care is available at some of these facilities. Ear infections, colds, and flus can be treated as can various types of allergies.
In terms of allergies, the 2014 National Health Interview Survey found that American children experienced the following types:
- Hay fever: 8.4%
- Respiratory allergies: 10%
- Food allergies: 5.4%
- Skin allergies: 11.6%
When you or someone in your family needs to be seen by a medical professional, you want to find a clinic as close to your home or place of employment as possible. In addition to the medical issues listed above, there are quite a few others that can be treated at these clinics. Furthermore, since no appointment is needed, you can walk into one of these urgent care facilities and usually be seen within 15 minutes. This may vary, of course, on whether or not there are any patients ahead of you that are experiencing more serious issues. Since the cost of being treated is much less than a traditional hospital emergency room visit, it’s not surprising more and more Americans are choosing urgent care clinics for treatment.