Is Virtual Urgent Care Going to Replace In-Person Visits?

A new global trend is emerging in the healthcare industry: virtual urgent care services. Some urgent care facilities are choosing to provide virtual appointments for patients looking for medical advice. While this trend is in its beginning stages, it's an exciting prospect for the entire industry and potential patients.

The goal of virtual urgent care services is to connect patients with local doctors when they have minor health issues that don't require sitting in an emergency room for hours. If a sudden rash or cough has you worried, a virtual visit to see an urgent care doctor may be a good idea. This is also a great way for doctors to connect with patients while they may be out of the office or even out of town.

While virtual care is great for helping patients with minor ailments from flooding emergency room departments, it will not be able to replace the care a doctor can provide in-person. For instance, if you have an open wound that needs antibiotic treatment and suturing, a virtual appointment won't do much good. If you have an illness or injury that a medical professional will need to see or hear about in person, a virtual experience may leave you without answers.

An important aspect of urgent care is the accessibility. Aside from a true medical emergency, a walk-in clinic is the best choice for people who are unable to get an appointment with their primary physician during regular business hours. Even if it's outside of regular business hours, urgent care can help. More than 80% of clinics are open 7 days a week, many of which have extended evening hours.

With more than 3 million patients each week and 20,000 doctors practicing with them, urgent care centers are becoming a cost and time-saving alternative to emergency rooms. Aside from helping the patients who seek care at a walk-in clinic, avoiding the emergency room with minor ailments helps those who need to seek immediate medical attention but are thwarted by crowded ERs.