In the world of modern medicine, and the wide variety of illnesses and injuries that can happen to people of all ages, finding the right medical center for a malady is almost as essential as the care itself. Respiratory arrest, heart attacks, severe allergies, and similar life-threatening conditions warrant an immediate visit to the emergency room at a hospital, while a patient may schedule an appointment with his/her primary care physician whenever possible. However, a third option exists: urgent care, and this friendly medical care is often the most convenient and widely-available option for today’s afflicted patients.
Where to Go for Health
A person’s primary care physician will operate out of a certain office, and can only be seen with an appointment, scheduled in advanced. The advantage of this medical treatment is that a physician is deeply aware of each of his/her patient’s medical needs and backgrounds. Urgent care, however, requires no such appointments, and in some cases, may be the only option.
What symptoms does urgent care treat? A wide variety. According to Patient Care Access News, urgent care centers can treat non life-threatening injuries and illnesses such as smaller broken bones, bone fractures (four out of five urgent care centers treat fractures), fevers and the flu, sprains, back problems, and more. Treatment at an urgent care center is not as comprehensive as at a hospital, and an urgent care center cannot handle life-threatening incidents. However, they have a number of advantages.
An urgent care center is often locate conveniently for the local populace. Retail care centers, for example, are located in large retail businesses such as Wal-Mart, Target, and some grocery store chains. Other urgent care centers are found in such places as shopping plazas, easily reached on the road and with ample parking nearby. This allows health care such as immunization shots to be administered to many people quickly, and sometimes, going to such a center can cut down on overall costs as opposed to a general hospital. About 85% of these urgent care centers are open every day of the week, and every week, an estimated three million Americans will visit an urgent care center. That, combined with the 20,000 physicians practicing urgent care today, means that visiting a health clinic for urgent care is affordable and nearly universal.
There are potential drawbacks to consider. If an urgent care center is over-used, with too many patients visiting for maladies that could be treated at home, overall costs per patient can increase, and potentially become higher than what other health care services would provide if the problem becomes acute enough. Also, it is possible that the staff of an urgent care center will defer a patient to a hospital anyway, and to counter this complication, some hospitals have begun affiliating themselves with various urgent care center and retail care centers to smooth out the transition and organize the movement of patients and their treatments.
Knowing what sort of medical center to visit, and for what ailments, allows anyone to find the correct and most affordable treatment for any illness or injury, and with many urgent care centers and hospitals in urban areas, help is usually just a drive away.