When You Can't Wait for a Doctor's Appointment, Visit an Urgent Care Center

The average urgent care clinic in the United States gets somewhere between 300 and 400 visits every week. Given that urgent care centers are a relatively new component of the healthcare industry, this number is an impressive representation of the roleurgent care clinics have assumed in many communities. However, considering the wide array of services available to urgent care patients, this seems only to be expected; with urgent care clinics offering a variety of walk-in treatments for non-critical ailments, urgent care is making it easier than ever to access medical care.

One of the first advantages of medical walk in clinics like urgent care centers are their hours: an estimated 70% of urgent care clinics in the United States are open by 8 AM for their patients' convenience. Moreover, the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine requires urgent care clinics to be open for business seven days a week, meaning that the sick and injured will be able to speak to local doctors even when their primary medical office is closed.

A second advantage of visiting an urgent care center is the high quality medical care they offer their patients. While a person's first response to a medical problem is usually to call their doctor or access emergency room care, urgent care clinics also employ qualified medical professionals to treat a variety of ailments; in fact, an estimated 50% of urgent care facilities in the United States are owned by physicians. Urgent care centers are able to prescribe antibiotics and pain medication, and many are equipped to provide X-ray services to diagnose fractures, sprains, and other bone-related issues. This is especially convenient to patients who are unable to wait for a doctor's appointment for a prescription, or spend several hours waiting at the nearest hospital emergency room.

The third advantage of visiting an urgent care facility is the sheer accessibility of medical care. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, an estimated 69% of urgent care facilities have an average wait time of 20 minutes or less, and encourage people to walk in as needed. Moreover, an estimated 15% of urgent care centers in the U.S are found in urban areas, with another 75% located in the suburbs, making it easy for patients to find a walk in clinic nearby. 

Finally, the typical urgent care visit is around 40 to 50% less expensive than a trip to the emergency room, potentially saving patients hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. If you have a non-critical medical problem that needs immediate care, the choice is clear: visit an urgent care center near you.