Urgent care centers have become quite common indeed all throughout the United States. In fact, as of the year of 2016 there were well over 7,000 of them. In the years that have followed since, this number has only continued to climb and climb. But why urgent care? Why not go to your local emergency room?
Let’s first take a look at all that the local urgent care center is able to provide, from pediatric emergency care to even dealing with broken bones. After all, recent data suggests that up to 80% (more than three quarters) of all urgent care locations are actually able to treat fractures limbs, as they have the capability to accurately diagnose them in the first place. And even pediatric emergency care can be handled in the local urgent care center, as pediatric emergency care often requires wound repair (as anyone who has handled pediatric emergency care cases can likely attest to, children can be truly quite accident prone indeed, to say the very least.
Of course, there will be certain times when the pediatric emergency care that is needed will very much be more suited to a hospital setting. After all, any pediatric emergency care that is potentially life saving should be conducted in a hospital environment, where all of the resources necessary are likely to be able to be obtained, which is not always the case for other medical settings. However, the vast majority of pediatric emergency care needs and other such medical needs can actually be easily met by the typical urgent care center, as actually less than 5% of all cases must be transferred out of the urgent care center in question and into an emergency room.
On the other hand, however, many cases that are seen in the local emergency room found in just about any part of this country could have instead been treated in an urgent care setting. In fact, some estimates put up to 65% of all emergency room patients as good candidates for urgent care treatment instead. But even if you can go to an urgent care clinic for pediatric emergency care and the like, why should you?
For one thing, it’s far easier to wait in an urgent care center thanks to the dramatically reduced wait times that they are typically able to boast. In the typical urgent care center, you’ll only have a mere half of an hour weight on average – in as many as 92% of all walk in clinics and urgent care centers seen all throughout the country. For many people, the wait time will be even dramatically reduced from this one, as more than half of all urgent care locations (up to 60% of them, as a matter of fact) actually even boast wait times that are, on average, no longer than just 15 minutes. In the typical emergency room, you’d likely be waiting in the waiting room alone for at least an hour. Even for relatively minor medical concerns, it is far from uncommon for emergency room visits to stretch out for hours at a time, often for conditions that could have been treated in mere minutes elsewhere.
Cost is yet another reason that people are seeking out urgent care centers for everything from pediatric emergency care to difficulty breathing to getting their flu shots. After all, hospital bills climb ever higher with each passing year. Even for a relatively minor amount of treatment, you’ll still likely pay more than $1,000 for any given visit to an emergency room. For many people, going to an urgent care center means the ability to get medical treatment in the first place.
Ultimately, urgent care is on the rise. After all, there are more people going than ever, with more than 25% of the total population has visited at least one urgent care location over the course of the last two years or so. Because of this, urgent care centers are really making a name for themselves, with recent data showing that up to three million people attend them on what amounts to be a weekly basis, served by as many as 20,000 doctors in just this country.