The Advantages of Urgent Care Centers
Urgent care centers, which have been around since the 1970s, represent one of the fastest growing segments within the health care system of the United States. Interestingly, urgent care centers provide roughly the same services as primary care doctors, although the hours and wait times are much more convenient.
There are even urgent care emergency rooms. While urgent care centers are capable of treating less serious injuries or illnesses like upper respiratory infections, gastrointestinal problems, burns, lacerations, contusions, fractures and sprains, there are certain areas of urgent care centers that function as de facto emergency rooms.
Urgent care emergency rooms can function as alternatives to emergency rooms in hospitals. More and more urgent care facilities are capable of providing more services like x-ray technicians, routine physicals and even STD testing, and there are some facilities that can do some of the same things as emergency rooms.
In some states, urgent care facilities have point-of-care prescription dispensing services, which means that when someone is prescribed something, they leave with the prescription in hand instead of being required to drive to a pharmacy to have the prescription filled.
People typically choose urgent care centers because of the convenience. Urgent care centers cost quite a bit less than emergency rooms and provide walk in care, unlike primary care doctors. Plus, the urgent care hours are far more favorable to that of primary care doctors; less than a third of primary care doctors have extended hours. On the other hand, there are 24 hr urgent care centers all over the United States.
At the end of the day, where you go for medical treatment depends on the severity of your illness or injury. If it is truly life threatening, it is highly recommended to call 911 and visit an emergency room as soon as possible. In most other cases, however, it is suitable to walk into an urgent care center. You may be surprised at how exceptional their quality of care truly is. More.