Insight Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine – If you have ever felt under the weather, had an unexplained skin rash, sprained your ankle, or experienced any other injury or illness out of the blue, chances are you have been to an urgent care clinic. Often serving as a first step in the patient journey, urgent care clinics in the U.S. see nearly 90 million patients each year. In the next decade that number is expected to grow as gaps in primary care, high healthcare costs, and consumer demand for faster and better medical services continue to rise. Although urgent care is not a replacement for primary care physicians and emergency departments, it does play an important role in bridging the gap between the two while also providing accessible patient care. Whether you have visited an urgent care clinic in the past or are unfamiliar with the services urgent care offers, here are five interesting facts about urgent care to keep in mind.
Urgent Care Is Fast
People often choose to go to the emergency room for non-emergency issues because they think they will receive immediate care. However, depending on your location and the time of day, you will likely be waiting awhile. According to a recent report in the Harvard Business Review, the average hospital emergency department patient in the U.S. waits more than an hour and a half for a room and 2.25 hours before being discharged. On the other hand, the national average wait time for walk-in urgent care is about 20 minutes and most non-emergency illnesses and injuries can be treated in an urgent care setting.
Urgent Care Is Affordable
In addition to being convenient, urgent care is also much more affordable than an emergency room visit. According to a United Health Group study, the cost of an average non-emergency ER visit is $2,000 without insurance. In comparison, an urgent care visit is typically between $100 to $200 and is covered by most insurance plans. Next time you have a non-emergency injury or illness that can’t wait for an appointment with your doctor, remember this: as many as 27% of all emergency room visits could have been handled with urgent care, which could potentially save patients as much as $4.4 billion dollars each year.
You Might Be Surprised What Urgent Care Can Treat
Your local urgent care clinic may offer much more than treatment for common colds and ear infections. Many urgent care clinics provide a wide range of medical services, including imaging, diagnostics, pediatric care, and pharmacy. At Insight, walk-in orthopedic care and occupational medicine services are also offered 365 days a year. For issues that are more complex or require additional care, some urgent care providers can even make referrals to specialists and schedule follow-up appointments.
There Are Better Times to Visit Urgent Care
One of the greatest benefits of choosing urgent care is the hours of operation. Unlike a traditional doctors office that is open during traditional business hours, most urgent care locations are open daily, including weekends and holidays, with extended hours in the evening. However, it is important to be aware that some times of the day may be busier than others. Wait times are often longer first thing in the morning and in the late afternoon or early evening when people are getting out of work and school.
Millennials Prefer Urgent Care
With Millennials in their peak working years, raising families, and juggling busy schedules, it’s not surprising that they prefer the convenience of urgent care. According to a recent report in the Journal of Urgent Care Medicine, Millennials (those between 24 and 39 years of age) were more likely to use urgent care than other generations. As Generation Z is quickly coming into adulthood, these numbers are expected to continue rising.
As the healthcare landscape changes, urgent care is a valuable resource that offers value, quality, and convenience in the communities they serve. To learn more about Insight Urgent Care in Flint, including our walk-in orthopedic and occupational medicine services, contact us today or call (810) 213-8144.
Q: Can I visit urgent care if I have a primary care doctor?
A: Although it is always best to see your primary care physician whenever possible, urgent care offers an affordable and convenient alternative for non-emergency conditions when your doctor is not available.
Q: Is there a difference between urgent care clinics and retail clinics?
A: Yes. Retail clinics found in supermarkets and pharmacies typically only provide care for minor medical issues like sore throats and preventive services (e.g. flu shots). Urgent care clinics are equipped to treat a wide range of non-life threatening illnesses and injuries, offer in-house imaging and other services, and are often affiliated with larger healthcare providers that can provide follow-up care.
Q: What should I bring with me to an urgent care visit?
A: To receive the best possible care when visiting an urgent care clinic, it is always advisable to bring your current health insurance information, photo identification, and a list of medications you are currently taking. It is also important to share any significant medical diagnoses, allergies, and other relevant information regarding your health.