Our healthcare system is currently overwhelmed. We profess that medical care should be readily available, no matter what time of year it is. Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in urgent care centers and emergency rooms scrambling for bodies and money. We as a society seem to want quick service. However, this mindset is costing us our health.
If you’re one of the 55 percent of Americans who feel stressed about work, you’ll understand why more hospitals are opening urgent-care centers. Medical centers are spending millions of dollars to offer more convenient services, as long as it doesn’t impact their bottom line. For patients who need walk-in care, a few hospitals are opening walk-in clinics for emergency conditions where patients can get treatment without having to schedule an appointment.
There was a time when a trip to the emergency room was the only option for serious medical emergencies. However, with the new urgent care centers opening across the country, those with lesser medical issues can walk in and be seen right away, often receiving treatment a fraction of the time it would take for a trip to the ER.
It’s fast and reliable
In 2016, 16.3 million Americans were admitted to a hospital emergency department (ED). That number included nearly 6.8 million who were treated for a non-life-threatening condition that could have been treated at a more convenient and less expensive urgent care center. Thus, there is clearly a need for urgent care centers, but only about 10 percent of ED visits are actually for acute conditions, according to the Urgent Care Association of America. And only about 50 percent of those visits take place in an urgent care center, not a hospital.
Emergencies are scary, but urgent care treatment doesn’t have to be. An urgent care center provides medical treatments like a primary care doctor or pediatrician would, but on a less urgent basis. With emergency rooms receiving thousands of patients each day, wait times can be long. But an urgent care center receives far fewer patients in a day, which means you spend less time waiting. Urgent care centers are also open for longer hours than most primary care practices, so you can usually get an appointment much sooner than usual. And because urgent care centers are staffed with nurses and doctors who are experts in treating non-emergency illnesses and injuries, they are able to provide quality, affordable treatment.
We need it
The average wait time at an urgent care place for patients to receive treatment averages around 2 hours, and it is something that needs to be changed. Urgent care centers such as this one in Tampa Bay all across the United States are an excellent option for those with minor, non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses that need treatment as soon as possible.
Can improve access to healthcare
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs), managed care plans, and insurance groups sometimes offer incentives to members for using in-network providers and prompt treatment of certain medical conditions, including urgent care centers. But often, urgent medical care is treated as an afterthought, with patients having to wait days or weeks before they can get care.
Have you ever been in an emergency situation that couldn’t wait till the next day? A broken bone, a broken arm, a sprained ankle, an allergic reaction, and an upset stomach are only a few examples of situations that would warrant a trip to the hospital emergency room. However, it’s estimated that almost 50% of all emergency room visits could be handled at an urgent care center (UCR) instead.