Urgent care centers are popping up all throughout the country, with now well over 7,000 urgent care locations found from coast to coast and everywhere in between as well – at least according to the data that was collected back in the year of 2016. In the years that have transpired since, the number of urgent care clinics has only continued to be on the rise. And these urgent care centers are also growing more and more popular, with data more than backing up this claim. After all, this data shows that more than one quarter (around 27%, to be just a bit more specific) of the population has visited at least one walk in clinic over the course of the last few years, with many people going more than just the once in this same span of time.
But why, exactly, is this the case? What can be attributed to the rise of the urgent care center? For one thing, it provides a viable and cost effective alternative to other forms of medical care. In comparison to the typical emergency room, an urgent care center will have a much shorter waiting period for the average patient. In an emergency room, where cases of all kinds are seen and doctors and nurses and other such medical professionals are often understaffed while being significantly overworked, it is all too likely that your average wait time before seeing a doctor or other such medical professional will be at least an hour long, if not considerably longer. At more than 90% of all urgent care locations, on the other hand, the average period for waiting will be only just 30 minutes – or even less. As a matter of fact, up to around 60% of all urgent care centers actually have average wait times that don’t even exceed 15 minutes, with the typical patient in and out all within the course of just one single hour.
An urgent care clinic can also treat a much broader range of conditions than many realize as well. After all, your typical urgent care clinic will actually be able to handle up to 97% of all the cases that come through its doors. This means that only about 3% of all cases seen by the urgent care clinic will ever need to be transferred to a hospital setting. On the other hand, the average emergency room sees many patients that could have instead been easily treated at the local urgent care clinic – something that can hold true for up to 65% of their cases, in some emergency rooms.
After all, the typical urgent care clinic can likely treat a much wider array of conditions than you are even aware of. For instance, it is simply a fact that up to 80% of all urgent care clinics seen throughout the country can actually both diagnose and treat fractures. This means that a great many people will be able to avoid costly hospital stays, something that can mean a lot in terms of overall medical accessibility. In addition to this, various urgent care locations will be able to do everything from take x rays to place IVs, though this will certainly depend on the exact urgent care clinic that you decide to go to.
And, of course, more minor concerns can also be treated. For instance, common infections are also seen at urgent care centers all throughout the country. Ear infections are common, particularly among children, and can typically be treated with a simple course of antibiotics. So too can urinary tract infections (also known as UTIs), of which there are more than eight million diagnosed over the course of a typical year, in the average urgent care clinic and outside of it alike. Even flu shots can be given in the typical urgent care clinic, something that allows for a great many people to stay safe during what can be a dangerous period of the year. After all, the flu and the common cold are not the same, and the flu can be quite dangerous for someone who has not yet received their flu shot.