Most healthy people in America have had some sort of experience with medical care in their life. Whether it was an appointment with the doctor or a visit to the emergency room, it is probably safe to say that almost everyone has an idea of what health care in America looks like. The face of American medical care is beginning to change, though. A new option has risen for health care in recent years that should be taken into consideration when trying to address an injury. Some of the quickest growing segments of the American healthcare system are urgent care centers. For those trying to evaluate what their best healthcare option is, here are three things you might not know about urgent care centers:
1. What is Urgent Care, Exactly?
First of all, urgent care centers are made to provide medical attention to patients whose conditions and injuries, while needing to be addressed quickly, are not serious enough to merit a trip to the emergency room. Emergency rooms ethically have to address patients with life-threatening injuries first regardless of how long other patients have been waiting, at least as a rule of thumb, which can lead to long wait times for those with less deadly but still serious injuries. Urgent care centers have been made in part to pick up that slack and meet the needs of those patients who are left in the waiting room.
2. What Can Urgent Care Address?
Urgent care is versatile in the services it can provide. Somewhere between five and twenty percent of Americans suffer from the flu over the course of each year and they, too, can receive care at an urgent care center. The professionals at urgent care centers are capable of addressing a wide variety of issues; some of the ones that are most commonly addressed are sprains, strains, fractures, upper respiratory illnesses, gastrointestinal conditions such as food poisoning, lacerations, and concussions. They also allow patients to use online STD testing registration whenever it is most convenient for them. Online STD testing registration is just an example of their discretion when dealing with issues like this. After all, if they allow online STD testing registration, patients can avoid discussing the issue with anyone besides the physician. Whether a patient is suffering from an illness or an injury, urgent care can provide some sort of health service.
3. When Can One Go to Urgent Care?
One last thing to consider is the ease with which a patient can access any of these services. The emergency room and doctors’ offices often have wait times and other barriers that inconvenience a patient without a life-threatening condition. Only twenty nine percent of physicians, for example, offer any sort of after-hours coverage. Injuries don’t only happen during business hours, though. Sometimes a patient needs to find a doctor to receive immediate care off the clock. Urgent care, on the other hand, has more convenient hours to better suit a variety of patients’ needs and operates with free walk in clinics. Now there is one question that need be answered: why does urgent care seem like it is or is not a good fit for you?