Here is a scenario: you have been coughing almost nonstop for the past hour and it does not seem to be slowing down. So what do you do? There is certainly nothing wrong with making sure you are okay, after all, popping a rib from coughing is a possibility. However, your doctor is not in which means making an appointment might allow too big of a window for something worse to happen. You can always stop at an urgent care center!
Urgent care centers are like the fast food restaurants of healthcare; they have the tools, experience and doctors that can provide service to those in need that are not necessarily life threatening. To be clear though, urgent care centers are typically prepared for emergency visits, however, their purpose is, like mentioned before, to help alleviate the stress emergencies room can feel by handling the smaller cases.
The Benefits Of Urgent Care
Think of the benefits of urgent care as the four corners of a square: doctors, speed, space, and price.
We have already mentioned the doctors you will find in urgent care centers; they are not any different from doctors you would find in any hospital or emergency room. The quality has not changed simply because urgent care centers take on less threatening cases. In fact, a survey was conducted in 2016 stating that for every three out of four patients, or 75 percent, had actually reported their care was of excellent or good quality.
Now, you might be thinking that because urgent care takes care of smaller cases and in turn, have long wait times, but quite the contrary! If you find yourself at an urgent care center, chances are as good as 90 percent that you will only have to wait about 30 minutes or less, that is according to the Urgent Care Association’s 2017 Benchmarking Report Summary. In fact, urgent care will handle three patients an hour, on average, with as many as 50 visits in a single day, according to the Urgent Care Association in the United States. And since your life is probably not in danger – or else you wouldn’t be there – sit back, relax, turn on your mobile data and catch up on an episode of that show you have been wanting to watch.
Another great benefit of urgent care is space. Picture the road you commune on and how clogged it gets. Now, imagine that road has a bridge built over the entirety of it. Now there’s more space! The same can be said of urgent care; rather than funnel everyone into emergency rooms, why not funnel individuals looking for care, but aren’t serious, and let emergency rooms handle, you know, emergencies. In fact, it is rare for a patient in urgent care to be diverted to an emergency room, as rare as 3 percent while 97 percent of patients are right where they need to be.
Healthcare can be expensive, there is no doubt about that. Showing up at an emergency room when your life is not being threatened can end up costing you more when you could have just opted for urgent care. Whether it is physical therapy or check ups, you can save your wallet from a trip to the emergency room. You can imagine the relief on the wallets of the 15,000 patients, and healthcare providers, that visited urgent care, according to the Urgent Care Association, during 2016’s fiscal year in the United States.