If you’re suffering with a sinus or ear infection and need treatment, have you considered visiting a local urgent care facility rather than a traditional hospital emergency room? When you’re experiencing severe pain due to an ear infection, or thinking you may have strep throat, an urgent medical care facility can provide treatment for these and other issues.
When you’re anticipating the arrival of flu season and want to receive a flu vaccination, an urgent care clinic can also provide these and other types of vaccinations. While receiving vaccinations is important, they don’t usually necessitate an emergency room visit or after hours urgent care. Unless you’re in the hospital for another type of issue, a flu vaccination can be administered during regular business hours.
Were you aware that using urgent care services, rather than making traditional hospital emergency room visits, can save you time? A recent survey by The Urgent Care Association of America showed that when patients visited urgent care centers, 60% of them were able to see a doctor in less than 15 minutes. The survey also indicated that approximately 80% of these visits lasted an hour or less.
It is probably a well-known fact that a trip to the hospital emergency room will cost more than a visit to a local urgent care center. Hospital emergency room costs vary depending on the location of the hospital and whether or not your insurance will cover these costs.
Many people, however, will visit a hospital emergency room because their regular doctor’s office is closed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When after-hours treatment is actually needed, there are urgent care centers available for this purpose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also indicate that less than half of the emergency room patients weren’t ill enough to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.
It’s also important to note that when needed, intravenous fluids can be administered at approximately 70% of urgent care centers. Another benefit that you may be interested to know about is that roughly 40% of these centers also have electronic prescription ordering systems. Furthermore, they also have computerized systems that record, maintain, and provide the following types of data and services:
- Lab and imaging results
- Patient information
- Condition and procedure coding
- Clinical notes
Currently, over 66% of urgent care centers are open during the week before 9:00 am. Approximately 45.7% of these are open on Saturday, and 31.1% are open on Sunday. More of these centers, roughly 90.5%, are staying open later on weeknights. Specific centers may be open until 7:00 pm, and two-out-five are open until 9:00 pm or even later.
The next time you think you may have an ear infection or strep throat, you can visit an urgent care center during normal business hours, or if warranted, visit an after hours clinic. If you need a flu vaccination, you can also visit an urgent care center in your locale rather than going to the more costly emergency room for treatment.