The Future of Urgent Care
Urgent care centers are great alternatives to emergency rooms, especially for those who need to see a doctor quickly but aren’t able to get an appointment with their primary care doctor. However, there’s been confusion regarding exactly what capabilities the urgent care centers have. Advancing technology, growing staff, and growing facilities mean that urgent care is a major player that can ease stress on emergency room visits.
Here's the Difference
Urgent care centers treat patients who have an immediate need to see a doctor for a medical condition that is not emergent. Most urgent care locations have at least one medical doctor on staff or a physician assistant available. The medical condition doesn’t have to be worrisome; it just has to be something that can't wait. Treating cuts requiring stitches, conducting x-rays, and performing lab tests are all within an urgent care's scope. These facilities can even assist with broken bones, burns and other non-emergent conditions that retail clinics are unable to.
Urgent care facilities are most often used to fill the gap between primary care doctors and emergency rooms, which contributes to shorter wait times. Of course, both urgent care centers and emergency rooms can become crowded. However, urgent care centers tend to have faster waiting times. On average, most patients wait under 30 minutes at urgent care, while the average emergency room patient waits over two hours.
One of the big advantages that urgent care centers provide is lower cost. If you have no alternative but to go to an emergency room for an ear infection, for example, the cost could top $500. The same treatment at an urgent care location could be as low as $100.
Tri-County's urgent care center provides top-notch care when you need help quickly. For more information about services and insurance coverage, contact Tri-County today.