Urgent care centers in the United States see an estimated 160 million patients every year. Designed to treat a variety of non-life-threatening injuries, these medical walk in clinics offer a variety of advantages to the people who utilize their services. These advantages include convenient hours, short waiting periods, fast treatment, and more. Could urgent care services be right for you and your loved ones in the event of an illness or injury? Read on to find out.
Like local doctors offices and emergency rooms, urgent care clinics offer a number of services to help treat their patients. One of their most common treatments is for workplace injuries, such as back pain, sprains, and musculoskeletal issues, which an estimated 89.8% of urgent care facilities are equipped to treat. However, the most common diagnosis given at American urgent care clinics in 2012 was an upper respiratory infection, an extremely common condition. Additionally, more and more urgent care centers are expanding their services to include X-ray services, routine blood work, and physical exams to better serve their patients. But unlike your physician's office or community emergency room, urgent care clinics, which are often open 24 hours a day, encourage patients to use their walk in services to access medical care at their convenience. Moreover, 69% of urgent care centers have an average wait time of 20 minutes or less. Most importantly, the typical urgent care trip is 40% to 50% less expensive than a trip to a U.S. emergency room.
The advantages and services offered by urgent care clinics has a significant effect on the communities they are located in: for patients, it becomes easier to access the medical care they need for non-critical injuries and illnesses. Meanwhile, for local emergency rooms and doctors offices, the volume of patients they must treat decreases, allowing them to provide faster, better care for individuals with life-threatening medical conditions. As a result, urgent care centers have become extremely successful in the United States. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, an estimated 9,000 urgent care clinics are currently interested in opening another branch or expanding. With the number of these medical centers growing, in addition to the high quality, affordable care they provide, the choice is clear: in the case of a non-critical medical situation, visit an urgent care clinic.