One of the greatest revolutions in American healthcare over the last decade is the rise in urgent care facilities. As statistics from research firm IBIS World show, the market for urgent care facilities, also commonly referred to as walk in health clinics, grew by an astounding 8.2.% between 2010 and 2015. Current statistics show that nearly 5,300 urgent care facilities have now opened their doors across the United States.
The rise of 24 hr urgent care centers is hardly surprising. As The Small Business Advisor details, urgent care facilities have been shown to be a preferable alternative to traditional medical care facilities, particularly when compared to emergency rooms. The best urgent care centers are far more affordable than ERs, offer drastically reduced wait times, and have been shown to reduce the strain on our local hospitals. In other words, local urgent care facilities are beneficial for all involved.
All that said, with 5,300 urgent care centers spread across the US, finding an urgent care facility that can help you during an emergency is easier said than done. How can you be sure you’re choosing the right urgent care center to help keep those you love healthy? Start by learning to tell the good from the bad.
How to the Tell Good and Bad Urgent Care Facilities Apart
- The 24 Hour Walk in Clinic You’re Considering is More Expensive Than the ER
- They Completely Miss the Point of a Walk in Clinic
- The Wait is Hours Long
As the popular online guide to parenting Parent Map points out, the best urgent care centers are extremely lean operations. They only employ the exact number of staff they need, and their facilities are only equipped with the most essential gear. By keeping themselves lean, top-end urgent care facilities keep their clients’ bills even leaner. If you notice your local urgent care demands just as much money for their services as your local ER, chances are you want to look elsewhere for a better option.
For Becker’s Hospital Review, one of the telltale signs of a great urgent care clinic is their hours. 85% of urgent care facilities are open seven days a week, with highly flexible hours so that potential patients, such as yourself, will always have access to top-of-the-line medical care. If your local facility doesn’t offer these flexible hours, what makes them any better than your doctor’s office or the local ER?
As The Tampa Bay Times reports, the average wait time for an emergency room visit was over five hours in 2014. In stark contrast, the best urgent care centers offer average wait times of only 20 minutes, ensuring you receive the care you need as soon as possible. If the urgent care center near you offers wait times more like your local ER, you really ought to find a new place.
Do you have a lot of experience working with urgent care facilities? What tips would you give our readers looking to tell these emergency walk in clinics apart? Share your thoughts in the comments below.