Advanced urgent care

It is a challenge facing many patients within the medical healthcare system: An pressing health issue that necessitates a trip to see a physician; except that the physician cannot see them today, and the only options seems to be the emergency room.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just under half (48%) of all adult emergency room patients who were not sick enough to be admitted to the hospital sought treatment at the emergency room because their physicians’ offices were closed.

This is unfortunate, as emergency room bills have become more expensive than in years past and pass along a great deal of the cost onto patients, even after insurance has covered what they cover. However, due to this dilemma, and to other factors, there has been a rise in a new method of treatment. It’s called the urgent care center. So what is urgent care?

An urgent care center is a medical treatment branch that offers numerous services on a walk-in basis. Your local urgent care may offer flu vaccination, treatment with intravenous fluids, fracture care, and treatment for illnesses such as strep throat, ear infections, and sinus infections.

An urgent center is a popular solution for those seeking treatment without going to the emergency room. It is also for those whose doctor’s schedule might be backed up. A short answer to what is urgent care is that it is the bridge between a physician’s office and the emergency room, for those that need help but don’t feel its necessary to go to the emergency room.

Urgent care centers have grown in popularity as well. Approximately one in five urgent care centers sees more than 450 patients per week. They are often open passed 7PM on weeknights and two in five stay open until 9PM. They can open up early as well. More than 66% of urgent care centers are open before 9AM with significant amounts opening that early on weekends as well.

Urgent care centers have become more computerized as well, with 40% using electronic prescription ordering systems, with other large portions using computerized systems for viewing lab and imaging results, collecting patient demographics, and billing.

It’s important to note that a physician or group of physicians own approximately 50% of urgent care centers. That can help in terms of service, such as when a physician is very needed to be seen. 60% of urgent care centers have a wait time of 15 minutes or less to see a physician, while 65% have a physician on-site at all times.

The question of ‘What is Urgent Care’ comes down to a simple description: It is a service provided to the public wherein a patient can receive treatment for numerous illnesses under the care of a physician, wherein that treatment will not cost compared to the treatment of a hospital emergency room and can be applied that very day.