Convenient care facilities combine walk-in urgent care and emergency healthcare services at one location, making it easier for patients and their families to choose the appropriate treatment. While any life threatening condition should be taken to emergency services, many common ailments like flu, colds, headaches and even fractures and wounds can be treated in non-emergency urgent care settings.
Convenient care facilities combine urgent and emergency care
Urgent care centers offer quality medical care for all non emergency cases. They are easily accessible, with about 9,300 in operation at the present time. Another 50 to 100 are added each year. The number of physicians practicing urgent care is also increasing. It currently stands at 20,000.
This fast-growing medical field can take the pressure off overburdened emergency healthcare services. For many people, until now the only kind of medical treatment available was a visit to the emergency room, which became their source of primary healthcare. The number of emergency room visits now stands at 110 million annually. This places a burden on emergency services and personnel. It also increases the costs of healthcare drastically.
Benefits of urgent care clinics
A more efficient and streamlined model of healthcare, convenient care takes the pressure off emergency healthcare services and directs patients to the correct treatment. Unlike traditional doctors offices, walk in clinics are exactly that, fully equipped medical treatment centers for all non threatening conditions. There?s no waiting around for weeks for a doctors appointment, and most urgent care centers have weekend and extended hours. That makes it much easier for patients to find the time to seek medical care without missing work or school.
Urgent care facilities can provide medical care at much lower costs than emergency healthcare services. This can lead to a significant reduction in medical expenses. For instance, a case can be handled in urgent care at a cost of about $226. If the same condition were treated in a hospital emergency room, the cost would $2,039 on average.
A model for primary healthcare
Walk in urgent care can treat all conditions that are not life threatening, at much lower cost that emergency healthcare services. This makes them a sensible choice, and this is the reason behind the rapid growth of urgent care centers across America. As of 2011, the average urgent care center saw 342 patients per week, adding 28 new patients each month, according to statistics from the Urgent Care Association of America.
Even though the number of urgent care centers is growing, more will be needed in the future. An article on ?Projecting U.S. PrimaryCare Physician Workforce Needs: 2010-2025? reports that about 52,000 more primary care physicians will be needed by 2025. The convenient care model of health services is likely to grow to meet this demand.
By taking the pressure off emergency healthcare services, convenient care facilities have created a new and more streamlined model for medical services. Conditions that are not life threatening, like headaches, fevers and stomach pains, can be treated in walk in clinics, reducing the costs of medical care significantly.