For most Americans without a medical plan, urgent care centers are the primary source for medical care when it comes to sports physicals, flu shot availability, or general emergencies. Here are several reasons why an urgent care clinic may end up replacing a family practice doctor one day.
Many Americans work full-time jobs during the week, making it difficult to take time off to schedule a visit to the doctor. A national poll found that 2 out of every 3 urgent care centers are open before 9 am on weekdays; nearly half of which have weekend hours. There are over 9,000 urgent care facilities in the US according to the Urgent Care Association of America.
Of all American urgent care centers, 61% have been in operation for over five years, 40% of which have been open for over nine years. With an average of 342 patients per week, urgent care clinics have the skills and expertise to handle nearly any situation. Almost all urgent care facilities have a full-time physician on staff with the supplies to perform fluid transplants, prescribe pharmaceuticals, and flu shot availability. With the growing dependence of urgent care facilities, it is projected that America will need approximately 52,000 more primary care physicians by the year 2025 if current projections are accurate.
We’ve all been stuck waiting at the doctor’s office at some point or less, wasting valuable time that could be spent solving the issue. 28% of urgent care centers have wait times between 21 and 40 minutes, with 69% of centers averaging a wait time of less than 20 minutes and only 3% of centers with a wait time of over 40 minutes. Most urgent care centers have advanced network software to pull up patient records quickly in order to better service them.
Compared to an emergency room visit, urgent care bills were $228 to $583 cheaper on average. Those savings apply to prescriptions and flu shot availability, which on average may be cheaper. Most urgent care clinics are owned by a physician or group of medical professionals who use their expertise to offer the highest quality of care at the cheapest price available.