Urgent care facilities are growing in popularity, and the reasons for this are the obvious ones – they provide access to affordable, quality health care. Sometimes you need to see a specialist or make an appointment to see your own doctor who is family with your medical history. But for many routine medical needs, such as flu shots or std testing kits, a walk in health clinic is a great alternative.
With most after hours urgent care clinics offering extended and weekend hours, you don’t have to take time off from work to make a doctors appointment. In fact, in most medical walk in clinics, you don’t have to make an appointment at all.
Don’t wait hours to see a doctor
An emergency walk in clinic is just that, a medical facility where you can see a doctor when needed. Unlike an emergency room, you don’t have to wait for hours. In fact in the U.S. the waiting time has increased in emergency rooms, from a mean of 46.5 minutes in 2003 to 58.1 minutes in 2009. That’s an overall increase of 25% in waiting time.
By contrast, at the majority of all urgent care centers have much shorter waiting times to see a physician or mid-level provider. Around 60% report a wait time of less than 15 minutes. And at 65% of all urgent care centers, there is a physician on-site at all times.
There’s an urgent care center near you
At present there are 20,000 physicians practicing Urgent Care Medicine, and the numbers are increasing. With 6,800 urgent care facilities across the U.S., there’s sure to be one near you.
The Urgent Care Association of America reports that in 2011, 342 patients visited an urgent care center each week. For specialized treatment of course there are ties when you need to be referred to a specialist. But for many routine medical needs, including std testing kits, testing, physicals and minor illnesses or injuries, an urgent care clinic is probably the best choice.