Unfortunately, people cannot schedule their illnesses and accidents to fit conveniently within their daily routine. There may be emergencies that occur after your physician’s office is closed, leaving you without your normal medical support system. Luckily, there are urgent care clinics that offer exceptional medical attention to patients who need care during off-hours. Although a physician at an urgent care walk in clinic is not as familiar with your medical history or background as your normal family doctor, the licensed physicians are trained to carefully assess, diagnose, and treat various conditions for people of all ages. They can then report the information back to your regular physician for follow-up treatment and care.
Benefits of Urgent Care Services
Urgent care clinics offer many benefits when it comes to taking care of and treating patients. Some of these benefits include the following:
- No appointment is necessary. Most urgent care clinics allow patients to simply walk-in, present their general information and insurance information, and wait to be seen by a licensed medical professional.
- Costs may be reduced. The copay charged at an urgent care clinic is generally less than a copay charged at a hospital emergency room.
- Lab services available. Clinics that offer laboratory and radiology services are able to provide comprehensive care for their patients.
- Able to see licensed medical professionals. Urgent care physicians, certified nurses, and physician’s assistants offer high-quality care. They are licensed and recognized as reputable members of the healthcare industry.
- Shorter waiting time. While emergency room patients can expect to wait several hours before they are seen by a physician, urgent care offers a shorter waiting time. Time is of the essence in cases where the patient is in pain, injured, or sick.
- Insurance is accepted. A majority of urgent care clinics accept a wide-variety of health insurance plans. Patients will simply be responsible for their urgent care copay when registering at the front desk.
The Rise of Urgent Care
Over the last 20-years, the number of urgent care clinics has increased at a substantial rate. Thousands of centers are popping up all over the country, bringing vital healthcare services to many cities, suburbs and rural communities. Residents who live in small towns are now able to receive medical attention in an urgent care clinic rather than make a long trip into the nearest city in order to get the help they need. As they continue to provide high-quality healthcare to the masses, these clinics will continue to multiply.
Limitations of Urgent Care
Since urgent care services are not offered in a hospital emergency room setting, there are some limitations on their treatment options. Patients who suffer from severe trauma, extensive injuries, or life-threatening illness should seek medical attention from an emergency room. Those who go to an urgent care may be referred or transported to a hospital emergency room if they cannot be successfully treated at the clinic. Urgent care is not intended to provide regular, routine healthcare services and cannot treat ongoing conditions or refill prescriptions.
Those who suffer from sore throats, nausea, headaches, broken bones, or minor lacerations may find sufficient treatment in an urgent care setting. Not only is an urgent care walk in clinic more convenient for many people, but it may be quicker and more affordable as well.