What events send your family running to a “Doctors Urgent Care” clinic? Are you a family that requires frequent x-rays for possible broken bones from the in season sport and other activities that keep you busy?
- The 11-year-old scored the winning run by sliding into home base before the ball arrived. Following the game his wrist swelled up to the size of a grapefruit.
- The 16-year-old finished her last swim meet of the season on Saturday, but woke up on Sunday unable to raise her right arm above her head.
- The father, he asked that his age be left out of the equation, slipped and fell while he was finishing scooping the neighbor’s driveway after the last six inch snow storm.
- The three year old made one too many trips around the park on her bike and crashed into the playground swing set. Even though she had her helmet on, she hit her head pretty hard.
- The 72-year-old grandfather smacked his own thumb with a hammer when he was giving his grandson a lesson on how to build a birdhouse.
- The mother of three kept from spilling the boiling water on the child who came racing through the kitchen, but she burned her right forearm keeping the child save.
Or, are you a family that most often finds themselves at a “Doctors Urgent Care” office because of complications related to asthma and allergies?
- The 19-year old college student came home with a very swollen looking rash on the top of both of her arms. It is very red and warm to the touch.
- The infant has developed a strange rash on her bottom three days after taking her first anti-biotic for a third ear infection.
- The high school cross country coach called to come pick up your son who is uncharacteristically out of breath after the before school running practice.
- At the midweek dinner at church your daughter, who is allergic to peanut butter, accidentally ate a cupcake that had imitation peanut butter chips in it. She says her mouth is starting to itch.
- The 13-year-old came home covered in hives after the afternoon campout and hayrack ride at the local pumpkin patch.
- The elderly woman developed an irritating rash on her hands while she was out of town visiting her daughter and grandchildren.
Timing Is Everything!
Asthma attacks can be scary. Broken bones are too. What makes any of these situations a little more unnerving is when they happen after regular office hours, in the middle of the night, or on a weekend. What starts as a simple shortness of breath after school on Friday quickly escalates into a real breathing emergency. A sore elbow that first doesn’t seem like much becomes very swollen and impossible to move by midnight. What might be an easy visit to a family physician during regular business hours becomes more challenging after the office has close. “Doctors Urgent Care” offices, however, are often open extended hours. Sometimes they are even open 24 hours.
While health emergencies that happened on weekends and evenings 20 years ago may have meant a trip to the hospital emergency room, those visits are often very expensive. In addition to being in a room with life and death situations, a hospital emergency room visit can cost hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars. A visit to the “Doctors Urgent Care” office, however, is far more affordable. Though still staffed by qualified doctor’s and nurses, stand alone urgent care centers simply do not have the costly overhead of a hospital.
An Increasingly Popular Choice
Nearly 3 million patients visit American urgent or quick care offices every week, according to statistics gathered by the Urgent Care Association of America. Because of its popularity, currently more than 20,000 physicians practice Urgent Care Medicine today. While family physicians offices often have limited hours and schedules that are booked weeks in advance, nearly 85% of urgent care centers are open seven days a week and never require an appointment.
Whether you are in search of an x-ray to see if a bone is broken, or you are wondering what to do about an alarming rash, it is likely that the urgent or quick care clinic style is the right fit for you and your condition.