The panic that sets in when you or a loved one gets into an accident or is stricken with a serious illness is more than enough to cloud anyone’s judgement. Unfortunately, finding medical care as quickly as possible is not always an easy task. Even for those who happen to get to a hospital on time, there is no guarantee that they won’t be sitting in line for hours, waiting for the next available nurse.
When these situations arise, the vast majority of people automatically turn to the emergency room. While emergency rooms are a vital part of a hospital, they are not the only medical walk in clinics that can provide aid.
Urgent care centers are facilities that are specifically designed to help those in need of immediate and/or quick treatment. Because they do not have all of the other responsibilities of a regular hospital, such as caring for long-term patients, rehabilitation, and standard examinations, urgent care can focus primarily on walk in patients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 129.8 million people end up in the emergency room each year; a large chunk of these patients could have easily gone to urgent care and avoided the long waiting times and expensive care. On average, patients who unnecessarily went to the emergency room could have saved about $748 and almost three hours of waiting time if they had gone to urgent care instead.
While some people may assume that the closest form of emergency care to them is a hospital, there’s a good chance that they do, or at least will, have an urgent care near them. With roughly two new medical walk-in clinics opening every day, there is projected to be about 15,000 urgent care centers around the United States by 2019.
It’s impossible to predict when someone might fall into these unfortunate circumstances, making it terribly important to have some form of medical walk in clinic available to everyone within a reasonable distance.