Since first originating back in the year of 2000, now nearly a full two decades in the past, urgent care clinics have become more widely utilized than ever before. As a matter of fact, there are now more than 7,000 such walk in clinics found all throughout the United States alone. At these urgent care centers, up to 20,000 fully licensed doctors are employed and over the course of just one single week, they are likely to treat up to three million people. This just goes to show how the urgent care center has become so hugely prominent in our lives.
But why go to an urgent care clinic instead of to your typical general care doctor or even to an emergency room? For one thing, the typical walk in clinic is much more likely to have extended hours than a GP’s office usually will, opening earlier in the morning and closing often significantly later into the evening. In addition to this already compelling fact, it has been found that the vast majority of urgent care locations (around 85% of them, to be just a bit more exact) will be open each and every day of the week. Some will even be open a full 24 hours and every day of the year, for that matter.
Wait times are another compelling reason to frequent your local urgent care center for treatment. If you go to a local emergency room, your average wait time is likely to be at least one hour, if not even longer than that. You can expect a number of hours spent in the ER even after you have been taken back and given a bed. Doctors are often overworked and understaffed, as are the nurse populations in many a hospital as well. In your typical urgent care center, however, this is not likely to be the case, as more than 90% (around 92%, to be just a bit more exact) of all urgent care locations actually boast average wait times of no longer than a half of an hour. In more than half of all urgent care locations (60% of them), the average wait time is not even past 15 minutes. For most urgent care patients, getting in and out will take no more than an hour, ideal for so many of us who are leading busy lives indeed.
And urgent care centers in the United States can provide a great variety of care to boot. Consider various skin conditions – most will be able to be seen at your local walk in clinic. Poison ivy is one good example of this, as it is found in every single state of the continental United States. On top of this, the vast majority of people who come into contact with poison ivy – up to 85% of them, as a matter of fact – will have some type of adverse reaction to it.
Minor and more serious injuries alike are also commonly seen at the typical urgent care center. After all, there are up to 25,000 ankle sprains taking place each and every day – and many people are not going to want to go to the ER for what they view as a relatively minor injury. But fracture care is also possible at your local urgent care clinic – at least at up to a full 80% of them. Ultimately, going to an urgent care location instead of to your local ER can be a good option for even more serious medical concerns. After all, a scant 3% of all urgent care cases will ever need to be transferred to a hospital in order to get them more comprehensive care. On the contrary, it is estimated that as many as 65% of all cases seen in the typical hospital setting could have instead been easily treated at one of the walk in clinics in the area.
All in all, the medical treatments that one can receive in a local urgent care setting are likely to be comparable in quality – if not even of a better quality – than the standards of care that can be provided in the ER.