If you’re unfamiliar with the growing field of Urgent Care Medicine, you may be interested to know more about this area of medicine and the facilities where it is provided. These facilities are staffed by physicians that are trusted experts in emergency care. As a result, they offer the best in urgent care services.
Given that there are roughly 110 million emergency room visits on an annual basis, and 44%-to-65% of these consist of non-emergency needs, according to a Millman study, it’s not surprising that emergency rooms are overcrowded. Furthermore, the waiting time may usually be excessive for non-emergency visits.
When visiting an urgent care center, as opposed to a traditional hospital emergency room, it usually takes less than 15 minutes to see a physician or other qualified medical personnel. This is the case with approximately 60% of urgent care centers currently in operation.
On average, the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine reports that an urgent care physician will see 4.5 patients every hour. This will, of course, depend on the severity of patient’s condition as well as other medical concerns.
Roughly half of all urgent care facilities are owned by a single physician or a group of physicians. In addition to having an average of seven exam and/or treatment rooms, most of these facilities are open seven days a week for at least four hours.
Due to having 24-hour access to traditional hospital emergency rooms, people tend to rely on them rather than waiting to see their primary care physician during regular business hours. Timely primary medical care can also be provided by hybrid clinics that combine the benefits of urgency care and emergency room medicine within the same facility. Furthermore, there are 24-hour urgent care centers available.
Given that traditional emergency room visits have increased 22% over the past ten years, utilizing the services of hybrid clinics are a convenient, quality, and cost-effective emergency room alternative. According to a 2009 Rand Corp. study, roughly $4.4 billion in health costs could be saved on an annual basis by choosing urgent care centers or retail clinics.
Urgent medical needs can be addressed at these walk-in urgent care facilities, which provide the best in urgent care services. These facilities offer skillful convenient and affordable care along with advanced diagnostic and laboratory services, such as imaging and labs. In addition to offering family medicine services, including pediatric urgent care, they also provide occupational health services.
The best in urgent care services can be provided for these and other minor injuries and illnesses:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Itchy eyes
- sore throats
Currently, there are approximately 20,000 practicing urgent care physicians and there is an increasing demand for more physicians. The Association of American Medical Colleges, for example, reported that by 2020, 90,000 more physicians will be required to address this need. By 2025, however, they project a need for 130,000 more physicians.