There are currently an estimated 7,164 urgent care clinics located in the United States. While the spread of these walk in health clinics is relatively recent, they are already creating a significant change in the American healthcare industry: it is now estimated that 27% of all Emergency Room visits in the United States could be treated at an urgent care facility. And as the services provided by urgent care centers increase, this number could easily increase, further assisting local communities and residents maintain their health.
Urgent care clinics treat a variety of non-life-threatening medical conditions: for instance, the most common diagnosis at American urgent care facilities in 2012 was an upper respiratory infection. However, regardless of the ailment at hand, urgent care clinics have earned a reputation for making medical treatment convenient and accessible for their patients. As such, urgent care clinics offer a variety of benefits: an estimated 80% of all urgent care visits in the United States are completed in an hour or less, many locations are open for 24 hours in order to service those who cannot be treated during their doctor’s normal business hours, and all urgent care clinics are required by the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine to be open for business seven days a week. Additionally, the typical urgent care visit is 40 to 50% less expensive than an average trip to the emergency room, and most urgent care centers accept health insurance plans to cover treatment.
And now, as urgent care locations become more and more common, many clinics are offering additional medical services to further help their patients. These services can include X-ray services to diagnose fractures, sprains, and other bone-related issues, as well as treatment for these and other muscoloskeletal injuries. With the increasing range of services, the choice is clear: if your medical issue is not severe enough to warrant a visit to the Emergency room, yet serious enough that waiting for a doctor’s appointment is out of the question, visit the nearest urgent care clinic.