Emergency centers

There was a time when the sole option for medical care during off hours was the hospital emergency room. Due to that fact, emergency rooms became packed and overcrowded simply with people waiting to be seen. The number of people waiting would exceed waiting room capacity limits and the time between checking in and being called into the triage area would climb into the hours. The medical community needed assistance.

Urgent care facilities began opening throughout the country. Peppered across the cities and towns of the United States, these facilities are focused on, not only providing care for non-emergency cases, but also in taking some of the burden off of hospital emergency rooms, especially for cases where the complaint is no more serious than a sore throat. Medical facilities are now able to separate cases between what is serious and what can be treated outside the scope of equipment available in a hospital.

Urgent care facilities offer convenient medical treatment to patients of all ages. The typical wait time for at least 60% of these facilities is 15 minutes or under, and 65% will always have a physician available. 50% of all urgent care clinics are owned by a doctor or a group of doctors. They provide the best possible treatments and services available, in addition to affordable care.

Walk-in urgent care locations are open when the doctor’s office is not. They provide convenient medical treatment to patients who are not able to see their own doctor in good time, or do not want to spend the long wait at a hospital emergency room. Urgent care and clinics provide patients with a convenient quality and cost, as well. They are equipped to provide skillful convenient and affordable care for patients with symptoms such as itchy eyes, sore throats, minor burns or back pain, and minor injuries and illnesses. Because an emergency room is typically located on hospital grounds, medical staff has easy and quick access to equipment needed to treat more serious symptoms such as chest pain, severe cuts and fractures, and serious illnesses.

Along with the convenient medical treatment offered by urgent care facilities, affordability is also a major factor. Statistics show that a typical, treatable complaint addressed at a hospital emergency room will generally cost over $2000.00, while the same case treated at a walk in medical facility will only cost about $226.00.

Many urgent care facilities offer round the clock walk-in care. This is a tremendous draw for patients who need to be seen before their doctor’s office opens the next day. No appointment is needed, and, as mentioned earlier, there is often a doctor either on site or easily reachable by staff members. Parents who want to ease their children’s discomfort during the night will often bring an ailing child to a walk-in facility for convenient medical treatment.

Visiting an urgent care center, however, is not meant to replace patient’s primary care physicians. These centers are a convenient option during those hours or days when the doctor’s office is closed and the patient needs to find immediate relief from their symptoms. Doctors at urgent care facilities will treat the ailment, and will likely suggest that the patient follow up with their regular doctor. They may also recommend seeing a specialist for further examination, depending upon the nature of the complaint.

There are specific conditions that a patient may have that will warrant an immediate trip to an emergency room as opposed to an urgent care facility. Any symptoms that could be defined as life threatening should be addressed within the confines of a hospital, where life saving equipment and specific doctors are more readily available. For instance, chest pain, poisoning, uncontrollable bleeding, breaks or fractures where a bone protrudes through the skin, gunshot wounds or deep knife wounds, or difficulty breathing, just to mention a few. Of course, many of these listed will constitute a 911 call if the patient cannot be moved or needs urgent and immediate care on the spot. Once paramedics arrive and assess the situation, they will determine what will be the next step, while able to provide initial emergency treatment enroute to the hospital.