When an emergency arises, many Americans go to the nearest Emergency Room for treatment. However, there is a growing trend among people who are looking for emergency treatment: after hours urgent care facilities usually provide a wide array of services and many patients cite lower costs and shorter wait times.
In the last seven years, the number of after hours urgent care facilities has increased to over 9,000 separate clinics. Many are open for longer hours than doctors’ offices and, surprisingly, about half of all urgent care centers are physician-owned.
About three out of every five urgent care patients report wait times of 15 minutes or less, and the average cost for services at a walk in health clinic was about $600. Compared to the average cost for services at an Emergency Room — over $1,200 — the cost to visit a neighborhood health clinic seems very reasonable to many patients who are seeking urgent care for dental or other health problems.
Many after hours urgent care facilities report that they offer a wide variety of treatments, including STD testing for men and women, setting of broken bones, and prescribing medication for many common illnesses. With emergency departments reporting wait times approaching 60 minutes, many patients feel that their needs would be better served by a family health clinic.
There are over 6,800 separate walk in health clinics open all over the United States, and many families are reporting that after hours urgent care facilities are more convenient, especially when children hurt themselves and when doctors’ offices may not be open.
When searching for an urgent care center for themselves or for their families, many people ask friends and family for recommendations. And after having a satisfactory experience at an urgent care facility, many patients are more than willing to give a positive referral. Online reviews can be very helpful, but word of mouth seems to be another factor when it comes to finding the best after hours urgent care.