The next time you have a non-life threatening health emergency, you may want to think twice before you head to the hospital emergency room. Recent studies suggest that 24 hour urgent care facilities may be a better option. Urgent care centers can treat health ailments and injuries such as the flu, strep throat, sprained or fractured bones, conduct x-rays, provide local STD testing, and much more. Urgent care centers represent one of the fastest growing segments within the United States healthcare system, and it’s for good reason.
One of the major advantages that urgent care holds over hospital emergency rooms is the cost per visit. The average emergency room visit costs approximately $1,500, while the average visit at an urgent care center costs under $150, which is great news for those without reliable healthcare insurance. However, most urgent care facilities accept healthcare insurance coverage as payment. Additional studies suggest that a visit to urgent care is 40 to 50 percent less expensive than a trip to the emergency room in the United States.
Besides saving money, research also suggests that you’re more likely to be seen by a doctor faster at an urgent care center, compared to a hospital emergency room. About 60% of all urgent care centers have a wait time of less than 15 minutes to see a physician or mid-level provider, and 65% have a physician on-site at all times. Most urgent care centers perform on a walk-in basis, and provide the nearest walk in clinic for many locations in the United States. Furthermore, only about 29% of primary care physicians provide after-hours care, allowing many 24 urgent care centers to be the nearest walk in clinic available for after-hours care.
Although urgent care facilities can not completely replace the care of your primary physician, or the care of hospital emergency room in life threatening situations, urgent care provides a convenient option for accessing reliable, and affordable health care in difficult situations such as your regular physician unable to offer timely appointments. With 5 to 20% of Americans coming down with the flu each year, walk in urgent care clinics can provide quick and easy flu shots too, saving you the time of scheduling an appointment at your physicians office, or waiting in long lines at another flu shot clinic. More info like this.