Urgent care centers across the country are given a less than stellar reputation compared to emergency facilities such as hospitals. However, they really have no reason to be treated this way when all they strive to do is treat you. With over 7,000 urgent care locations reported across the United States since 2016, it’s time to cut them a little slack.
While it is true that there is no comparison between the urgent care and emergency room facilities, you usually have to have a serious reason to go to the hospital. In fact, it is estimated in a recent study that somewhere between 45 and 65% of all ER episodes could have been treated at a 24 hour urgent care location, saving you both time and money. In addition, more than 70% of ER visits are for non-emergency or preventable conditions. This means that many times when people go to the hospital, they have no real need. They could just go to their nearby walk-in clinic and get the same treatment.
Urgent care facilities are actually equipped to help you with all sorts of care such as headache, flu, or pediatrics. In other words, problems that don’t necessarily warrant a visit to the ER but shouldn’t be ignored either. That’s what the 24 hour urgent care locations are for, and they’ve been showing the results. They’ve reported seeing approximately 12,000 patients in the 2015 fiscal year, which is over 30 every day. Even if you do end up needing more serious care than they can offer you, the medical officials will be more than happy to get you where you need to go.
This doesn’t happen often, as Becker’s Hospital Review estimates it only affects 3% of patients. However, that 3% makes it medically important as a part of your convenient care within these facilities. Another equally imortant feature is urgent care, as the name suggests. According to the Urgent Care Association, over 90% of all 24 hour urgent care locations maintained average wait times of 30 minutes or less in 2015.
Urgent care facilities have continued to provide us with an alternative to having to go to the emergency room for every little ailment. This saves us both time and money, and we can get more versatile treatment for these smaller ailments any time of day in urgent care locations. And they deserve a better reputation for treating us so well.