It is an unfortunate reality that sometimes, people will become injured or ill, or suffer food poisoning, rashes, or other afflictions. But the good news is that a variety of medical facilities are available for nearly any malady, from the common cold to life threatening injuries, but different facilities offer different types of care and at different prices. Knowing what sort of medical facility is right for you is critical, as is finding one. urgent medical care, checkups, and more are often a phone call and car drive away.
Types of Care
Hospitals, urgent care clinics, pediatricians, and private physicians all offer medical care for different afflictions and at different prices, and some are appointment only. Finding urgent medical care starts with knowing the differences between them all.
A hospital’s ER can be expensive to visit, but it offers trained doctors, physicians, and nurses who can handle even life threatening or serious illness or injuries that an urgent care clinic could not handle. Chest pain and difficulty breathing are common reasons to go to the ER, as the former could lead to a cardiac episode and the latter could become worse and even become life threatening. Broken arms or legs or ribs, eye injuries, strokes, or bullet or stab wounds also necessitate a visit to the ER. Sometimes, however, patients to the ER do not actually need its services, as they overestimate the care needed for their affliction. In fact, a recent study showed that anywhere from 44% to 65% of ER episodes could have been handled at an urgent care clinic instead, and this mix up can cost the patient a lot of money and can occupy room in the ER that urgent patients may need. A person’s best judgment should be used as to whether an ER visit is truly necessary.
By contrast, urgent medical care at a walk in clinic, retail clinic, or other urgent clinic is much cheaper and more convenient for a variety of reasons. Retail clinics, for example, are located in major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens, meaning that they are easy to find, and there is ample parking. Other clinics are numerous; a 2016 report showed that in the United States, some 7,357 are available, an increase from just the last new years before it. Many operators of these clinics are small and independent, with each often running three or fewer facilities. Often, just searching “24 hour walk in clinic location” into a smart phone or computer is enough to yield the address and directions to a nearby clinic, as well as its hours of operation and the staff names.
Urgent medical care at a clinic involves maladies that an ER is not needed to treat. Broken fingers or toes, rashes, minor allergies, and the common cold and flu, among other non life-threatening maladies, can be handled at the clinic, and often, the wait time can be 15 minutes or lower. On average, a clinic can see roughly three patients per hour, making it a fast and efficient system.
Urgent medical care is also possible through a person’s private physician, although this doctor requires an appointment ahead of time, so this doctor is not a good choice for a sudden, life threatening event. The advantages of a private physician are that this doctor will have a patient’s detailed medical record and history, and knows exactly what his/her unique patients need.
Pediatricians work with younger patients, anyone from newborn to 18 years of age. These specialized doctors understand ailments common to this young age group, such as ear infections or certain diseases. A pediatrician can even handle mental ailments in children that are commonly found in adults as well, from anxiety to depression.