Not Sick Enough To Visit the ER?
More than 80 percent of urgent care patients have a wait of 15 minutes or less according to the Urgent Care Association of America. By visiting a 24 hr urgent care facility, you can avoid the major inconveniences of trying to go to the emergency room for minor injuries or health issues. For some, they also provide a full range of family health care when you need to find a doctor after regular business hours.
For most minor illnesses and non emergency health issues, it is in your best interest to completely avoid emergency room services that typically require an extended wait. The convenience of getting in to visit a doctor with minimal advance scheduling is huge when you are coming down with a nasty cold or something similar. Urgent care facilities fill the gap if your primary care physician is gone for the day, and it is too uncomfortable to wait for the doctor to open, but you are not sick enough for emergency room care.
It is estimated that more than one third of all U.S. emergency room visits could have been taken care of faster and less expensively in an after hours clinic. Urgent care clinics usually have the latest diagnostic equipment for general lab work, xrays capabilities or anonymous STD testing. For sprains or suspected breaks, you can save hours by visiting urgent care versus the emergency room.
One of the other advantages of using an urgent care facility is their flexibility of scheduling various minor things, such as vaccinations, anonymous std testing and physicals. If you try to receive a flu shot each year, you may face an unexpected wait if you schedule it with your primary care physician, but the staff at the urgent care facility can usually give you the shot on a walk in basis. Also, things like your kids yearly team physicals can be obtained with limited delays in scheduling.
While there are generally nearby facilities for urgent care, we are experiencing ongoing growth as new clinics open. The Urgent Care Association of America estimates another 9,000 urgent care facilities are in position to expand. That means that your ability to get after hours care or minor emergency treatment will only get better as the facilities grow in number throughout the U.S. Find out more here.