An urgent care center provides walk-in treatment for injuries, illnesses, after hours care, and other medical complaints that are less threatening to the patient’s life than those requiring emergency room treatment. An urgent care center can provide a broader scope of care than a typical general family practice or other private practice center. An urgent care center is equipped to treat all types of medical complaints and can be a place for families to go even for minor illnesses or checking conditions when their family doctor is not available.
How is an Urgent Care Center Different from an Emergency Room or General Family Practice?
Urgent care clinics are frequently available for after hours care, which makes them a popular choice among those who must be at work or school during daytime hours when most family practice clinics are available. Long lines at emergency rooms are making urgent care an increasingly utilized option in modern medicine. In an emergency room, many of the most serious cases must be treated first, and patients who need care but must seek it after their family doctor’s office is closed can end up waiting for hours.
Another advantage of urgent care is that it tends to cost less than other types of medical treatment, despite being available at all hours of the day and night. A visit to an urgent care center typically costs much less than an emergency room visit for patients and insurance companies. The price at most urgent care centers is comparable to that of a visit to a general practitioner during daytime hours.
What Qualifies a Facility to be an Urgent Care Center?
Urgent care centers may be certified for that type of medicine by organizations such as the Urgent Care Association of America. Criteria regarding treatments available and service available have been established by the association. Urgent care centers must be open at all hours and provide a range of services to treat and diagnose a variety of different ailments. Some physicians at urgent care centers have obtained special training in this field, although this is not required at most urgent care centers as a prerequisite for employment. This type of clinic is a trend in modern medicine that began in the United States, and has quickly spread to other parts of the world to fit growing needs of patients.
How Will Urgent Care Centers Impact the Future of Medicine?
Urgent care centers are spreading across the nation due to changing needs in healthcare and the convenience that urgent care centers provide. A person should still go to an emergency room if they believe they may be suffering from life-threatening injuries or an illness. There is also still a place for private family practitioners, who tend to focus more on preventative care and holistic medicine rather than treating relatively urgent cases at a time convenient to the patient.
Urgent care is a growing trend among medical facilities. Many patients who need fast treatment find them more convenient than other options because they are open 24 hours a day and are often able to get a patient into treatment more quickly than an emergency room.