If you or a loved one needed immediate medical attention, a shopping center likely wouldn’t be the first place you would think to visit. However, thanks to a new presence in the American healthcare industry, this location may soon be your first stop when you need treatment for a non-life-threatening medical problem: increasingly, retail centers and medical plazas are the site of urgent care clinics, which offer affordable, convenient care for a wide array of common conditions. But with so many of these facilities available in the average area, how do you find urgent care centers that will offer the best treatment for your medical problem? There are a number of factors a patient can use to help identify the best source of urgent medical care; read on to prepare for future use.
Type of Care
There are two different kinds of walk in health clinics currently spreading across the country, which offer different levels and qualities of care. Because of this, having a vague idea of the kind of care you need and what these clinics offer can determine which center you should visit, or if you should instead seek out emergency room care.
The two types of centers are:
- Retail Clinics– Commonly found in stores like Walmart and Walgreens, this option offers a limited number of treatments for basic problems like pink eye, ear infections and sore throats. However, they are staffed by nurse practitioners and therefore able to write prescriptions, making them a good option for those who don’t have time to schedule a doctor’s appointment.
- Urgent Care Centers– Urgent care clinics have a wider range of services and their own buildings. In many cases, they offer X-rays, blood work, physical exams, and even employment-related drug testing; importantly, as many as 80% treat bone fractures and perform splinting procedures. If you or a loved one needs immediate treatment for medical problems like asthma attacks, anxiety, non-critical wounds, concussions and more, this should be your preferred option.
However, if you or a loved one is potentially experiencing a serious, life-threatening condition, you should choose a hospital emergency room and seek treatment as soon as possible.
Once you know what type of center you need, you should attempt to find urgent care clinics that are close by. If you can’t remember the address of any clinics in your area, however, this information can be easily found online: the website of the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine, for example, allows you to search for centers by zip code. The information can also easily be found using a simple Google search.
Current Waiting Periods
Once you find urgent care centers nearby, many patients find it effective to check to see how long waiting periods are at the different clinics. Many urgent care systems now offer this on their websites. But if you don’t have time to check, don’t worry: urgent care centers often have waiting times of 15 minutes or less.
Urgent care centers have quickly become an integral part of the American health care industry because of their convenience and affordability. However, many people still haven’t discovered the benefits of an urgent care center: studies show that 35% of emergency room visits could have been solved faster and more affordably at an urgent care center. Fortunately, those who know how to find urgent care centers that are best for their medical conditions are the best way to spread the word. Keep these steps in mind for you next minor medical problem! More like this blog.