We all need medical attention at some time for ourselves or family members. The choice of where to seek attention for minor illnesses and injuries can determine how quickly we are treated and how much the treatment costs. We can choose a walk in urgent care that treats injury and illness, make an appointment with a family practice physician, or go to a hospital emergency department.
There are many walk-in urgent care centers in the U.S. and the number is growing. In fact, today, the U.S. has about 9,300 such facilities with around 20,000 physicians. Urgent Care Medicine is without a doubt the fastest growing medical specialty.
Urgent Care centers are also convenient. Most are open seven days a week, and fortunately for many patients in need, no appointment is necessary. Additionally, there is normally a much shorter wait time to be seen than there is in a hospital emergency department. Some call it “skip the wait urgent care.”
And the care is excellent! Urgent Care physicians will treat minor injuries and illnesses with timely and effective treatment and refer more serious conditions to an emergency room where doctors have the right equipment and resources. According to a report from Truven Health Analytics, more than 70% of emergency department visits from patients with consumer-sponsored insurance coverage are for non-emergency conditions or conditions easily preventable through simple outpatient care. So, why are they wasting their time in hospital ER waiting rooms?
If you have a family physician, it isn’t always easy to arrange an appointment. Most family medicine practices are open regular business hours and not on weekends or holidays. But accidents don’t always abide by that schedule. There is also a shortage of family physicians because fewer physicians are choosing family practice. One study projected that the U.S. will need almost 52,000 additional primary care physicians by 2025.
Ultimately, for most minor ailments and medical emergencies, walk-in urgent care is the best option. It’s fast, convenient, and sure to offer the best treatments possible.