3 Reasons Urgent Care has Become So Important
Walk-in urgent care is a growing segment of America’s healthcare market. The walk-in urgent care clinic provides effective treatment alternatives for certain medical needs, from pediatric care to cuts, and some are able to deal with emergency care needs, abdominal pain causes, and even offer advanced diagnostic and laboratory services. Here are some reasons the walk-in urgent care center has become such an important part of the health landscape.
Giving the Emergency Room a Break
The emergency room is the only place to be treated for life-threatening emergencies, and if someone has chest pain and suspects a heart attack, or is in a serious car accident, or cannot breathe, there should be no hesitation about taking them to the emergency room. However, a recent study showed that between 44% and 65% of all ER visits in the last year could have been easily treated by a walk-in urgent care center. There are times when it is much more appropriate to seek care from an urgent care center rather than the emergency room. This would include help for the common cold or flu, routine examinations, minor cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures, infections such as ear infections in children or urinary tract infections, and dealing with chronic conditions like diabetes. Almost 70% of all cases that come in to the ER with consumer-sponsored insurance are for preventable conditions or non-emergencies. This is an enormous waste of money, resources, and time.
Replacing the Doctor’s Private Office
There are fewer and fewer private doctors’ offices in recent years. In 2009, there were significantly fewer medical school students choosing general family medicine as their speciality than there were in 2008. These trends mean that, for some people, scheduling a convenient time to visit the doctor for routine exams, chronic care treatments, preventative treatments, and help for colds and flu can be all but impossible. The walk-in urgent care clinic is able to fill that gap with affordable, quality medical help without having to schedule life around a doctor’s office openings.
Affordable Medical Care
The sort of treatment that will run thousands of dollars at an emergency room will run just a few hundred at the walk-in urgent care clinic. A few stitches, for example, could be close to a tenth cheaper at urgent care. One reason for this is the market. The current walk-in urgent care market is fragmented, with operators owning only fewer than three centers. This means no one urgent care center has a dominate presence on the market in most places, keeping competition high and prices low. Lower costs also result simply from the nature of the walk-in urgent care clinic. These clinics need far less equipment and fewer staff than a big emergency room at a hospital, which must be equipped for extreme and life-threatening medical emergencies.
The walk-in urgent care is a great place to go to find quality medical care at an affordable price without having to make an inconvenient appointment or wait for hours in the waiting room. Urgent care offers convenient care, so make sure you know where your closest urgent care center is for the next time you or someone you love needs help.