Urgent care clinics come in handy when you do not have a family doctor or when yours cannot see you immediately. They are considered the middle ground between your doctor’s office and the ER because they treat medical conditions that are not life-threatening but that require attention within 24 hours or less. According to the Urgent Care Association, urgent care clinics receive about 90 million patients annually, which is approximately 20 percent of all medical visits. This popularity with the masses, which is constantly growing, is thanks to the following five benefits of Carolina Urgent Care clinics.
Round-the-Clock, Accessible Care
Urgent care clinics maintain better hours than the emergency room and your doctor’s office. Because illnesses and injuries rarely happen on a schedule, these facilities remain open during the weekend and into the evening. Some are even open 24/7, so you can get treatment whenever needed. And according to the Urgent Care Association (UCA), 400 to 500 urgent clinics were opened every year in the US between 2014 and 2017. This means that you are almost guaranteed to find one close to you.
Varied Medical Care
You may not want to visit an urgent care clinic with a life-threatening or possibly fatal medical emergency. However, these facilities can handle more than the occasional cold. Most urgent care clinics are equipped to treat injuries and serious illnesses like fractures, strains, sprains, burns, lacerations, asthma attacks, allergic reactions, the flu, and pneumonia. You can also usually receive other medical services like STD screenings, lab tests, and imaging.
No Appointment Required
Perhaps the most notable merit of urgent care clinics is that you do not need to call ahead to see the doctor. You can usually walk in and receive treatment that very day. In addition to being efficient, this system of accepting patients ensures that you do not miss out on treatment for a condition you could not have predicted. It also helps that urgent care clinics are open seven days a week.
Minimal Wait Times
Emergency rooms save a lot of lives every year. However, the wait times alone can be enough to discourage patients from visiting the ER. Going to the ER may see you sit in the waiting room for hours as you wait to be directed to a doctor. In contrast, urgent care clinics have minimal wait times, including for walk-in patients. As a 2017 UCA survey reveals, the average wait time in an urgent clinic is 20 minutes or less, and you can usually be on your way within the hour.
Cost Efficient Care
Urgent care is more affordable than visiting the ER and your doctor’s office. An analysis by UCA reviewing figures from 2016 Cigna shows that about 50 percent of urgent care visits cost less than $150 on average. ER visits, on the other hand, have an average cost of about $2,250. Even better, most of these facilities accept Medicaid and Medicare.
When Should You Visit an Urgent Care Clinic?
The benefits of urgent care are more than impressive. However, not knowing when to visit an urgent care clinic can negate them. Medical experts recommend that you only visit the ER if you have a life-threatening condition. Your primary doctor is also better equipped to handle chronic or ongoing illnesses. Otherwise, if you are experiencing a non-life-threatening illness or injury that needs quick medical attention, find and visit the nearest urgent care clinic.