When you take a trip to the emergency room—emphasis on the word emergency—you would think that the ER staff would be quick to tend to you. But more often than not, that isn’t the case.
An emergency room will admit you right away if you, say, suffered a heart attack or were involved in a bad car accident. But otherwise, you could be forced to wait for a long time before seeing a doctor. The CDC reports it takes the average ER about 2 hours to see and treat patients.
It’s why urgent care facilities have become so popular in recent years. Many people prefer visiting an urgent care clinic over an ER because it allows them to get the medical care they need in a much shorter amount of time.
Here are 5 other benefits of visiting an urgent care clinic in 2019.
1. Offers Convenient Hours
Most doctors’ offices keep normal business hours during the week. They open up around 8 or 9 a.m. and stop seeing patients around 5 or 6 p.m.
They also usually take patients for at least a few hours on the weekend. It’s not uncommon to see them open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays.
But often times, doctors’ offices are not open at night or on Sundays. So if you happen to get hurt or sick during those times, your only option has traditionally been to take a trip to the ER.
That’s no longer the case thanks to urgent care clinics. Most clinics are open 7 days a week and offer both day and night hours for their patients.
2. Provides You with More Space Than the Average ER
Emergency room crowding has been a big problem in the U.S. for many years now. If you walk into an ER in almost any part of the country, you’ll see it filled with people waiting to visit with doctors.
This is a problem that you won’t usually have to face when you visit an urgent care clinic. While these clinics can get busy from time to time, they’re designed to get patients in and out quickly. As a result, you won’t have to worry about getting stuck in a crowded waiting room for long stretches of time.
Urgent care clinics have also helped free up space in ERs. They’ve made more room for those dealing with actual emergencies by catering to people who have urgent but slightly less serious medical issues on their hands.
3. Sets You up with a Wide Range of Services
If you believe that you’re suffering from a life-threatening medical condition, you should always visit an ER as opposed to an urgent care clinic. You’ll likely need to be admitted into the hospital and provided with extensive medical care.
But if your medical condition doesn’t fall into the life-threatening category, you’re much better off going to an urgent care clinic in most cases. They offer a wide range of services to patients and can help treat almost any non-life threatening condition.
They can treat:
- Abdominal pain
- Sore throat
- Back pain
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- High fever
- Minor fractures
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Sports injuries
They can also perform sports physicals for busy parents, do drug and alcohol testing, and provide flu shots. Learn more about the specific services that are offered at an urgent care clinic before visiting one.
4. Gives You Access to Great Doctors
There are some people who are under the impression that urgent care clinics aren’t staffed by doctors. For whatever reason, they think that only nurses work at these facilities. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Urgent care clinics do have skilled nurses providing excellent care to patients. They also have other medical practitioners like X-ray technicians working in them.
But there are more than 20,000 urgent care doctors in the country right now, and that number is growing every year as urgent care becomes more and more popular. More than 90 percent of urgent cares have at least one doctor on staff.
This means you won’t have to worry about not getting the best medical care at an urgent care clinic. You’ll receive personalized care from a team of doctors and nurses that are trained to treat people who are enduring almost any medical issue.
5. Saves You Money
Taking a trip to the ER can be expensive. It could even saddle you with a crippling amount of debt if you’re not careful.
If you have health insurance, you’ll usually be able to get away with paying little more than a $50 to $100 co-pay for an ER visit. That co-pay will often be waived if you’re admitted into the hospital during your ER trip.
But if you don’t have health insurance, an ER visit can cost anywhere from $150 all the way up to $3,000 or more. In rare cases, you could even end up with a bill for tens of thousands of dollars at the end of it all.
The costs associated with urgent care clinics are comparatively cheaper. One study that was done on ER costs vs. urgent care costs found that the costs can even be much cheaper in some instances.
If, for example, a person goes to the ER with what turns out to be strep throat, it’ll cost more than $500 on average to get the care they need. But that same person would pay just a shade over $100 for the same strep throat treatment at an urgent care facility.
Skip the ER and Visit an Urgent Care Clinic Instead
If you’re experiencing a life-or-death medical situation, going to the ER over an urgent care clinic is probably a good idea.
But if you’re confident that you don’t have a life-threatening disease or injury, go to an urgent care clinic instead. It’ll be a much better experience for you overall and will provide you with great medical care at an affordable cost.
Would you like to learn how you can keep yourself out of ERs and urgent care centers? Read our blog for tips on leading a healthier life.