If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of a stroke, the clear choice for medical treatment is a hospital emergency room. If you need a routine check up or physical, your primary care provider is the best choice.
But what about injuries or maladies that fall somewhere in the middle?
Urgent care facilities, also commonly known as convenient care clinics, have become a rapidly growing trend in the American healthcare industry as they continue to fill the void between hospital emergency departments and primary care physician offices.
So what are urgent care services? Although urgent care centers have taken on a much significant role in recent years and have expanded the kind of treatments offered, typically speaking, an urgent care facility is designed to treat acute injuries or illness that require immediate medical attention but may not be severe enough to warrant emergency treatment at a hospital. Common examples of injuries or conditions treated at an urgent care facility include sprains and strains, colds, the flu, and stomach bugs among others.
Urgent care facilities are often staffed by experienced physicians and staff who are experienced in treating a range of conditions. Aside from the quality of the care provided, urgent care facilities have continued to grow in popularity due to their convenient, short wait times. Many patients can be seen and treated within an hour. In addition, many urgent care facilities now have in-house dispensaries, which allow patients to leave with their prescription medication without having to make a separate trip to the pharmacy.
Also, cost has played a significant role in the growing popularity of urgent care facilities. Even without health insurance coverage, a visit to an urgent care center cost far less than emergency room visit. For example, the average cost of treatment at an urgent care center is roughly $200 or less, compared to a $1,500 at a hospital emergency department.