Designed to decrease congestion in emergency rooms and to provide urgent medical care to the noncritically injured, urgent care facilities employ slightly less than 130,000 Americans. This number is growing as more and more communities become aware of the crucial service they offer. Here, we’ll look at what urgent cares offer and why they’re a great option.
What Is An Urgent Care Facility?
Urgent cares concentrate on evaluating and treating acutely arising conditions for a wide range of patients, but they are also beginning to offer lab services, x rays, and routine physicals. Many are 24 hour urgent care facilities, making them a viable option for care instead of an emergency room in the case of non emergent medical issues.
What Can Urgent Cares Treat?
Almost anything. Flus and colds are popular for urgent medical care facilities because they are such frequent issues. Between 5% and 20% of Americans contract the flu annually, and Americans get about 1 billion colds every year. Other common reasons for visiting urgent cares are infections, sprains, non compound fractures, allergy symptoms, respiratory symptoms, and noncritical wounds. Urgent care professionals can write prescriptions, provide vaccinations, and provide diagnostic testing on site. Many also dispense medication on site.
Why Use Urgent Cares?
The primary reason is that urgent cares offer after hours coverage. In the past, patients with serious, but non life threatening symptoms only had two options. They could attempt to schedule an appointment with their private practitioner which can usually only be done weeks in advance, or they could visit an emergency room. Because emergency rooms are intended for those with time sensitive, potentially fatal medical needs, there is a certain amount of difficulty associated with non emergent patients vising emergency rooms. They take potential care away from patients with more severe needs and increase wait times. Scheduling with a primary care provider is often difficult as only 29% have after hours coverage, and even they do not perform on site diagnostic testing. The benefit of using urgent care is reducing emergency room crowding and receiving immediate attention for medical issues that are non emergent, but cannot wait.
Urgent cares are a fantastic offering of which more Americans are beginning to take advantage. Next time you’re confronted with an urgent, non emergent medical need. Look up your local urgent care. It will save you time and could save someone else’s life. Refernce materials.