With rising costs and inconvenient availability, urgent care centers are starting to replace hospitals and doctors offices for peoples medical needs. While they certainly don’t have all the amenities and advanced urgent care a hospital can offer, on average they still see 342 patients a week. The Urgent Care Association of America reports there are about 9,000 urgent care clinics in the U.S. today, signifying business is booming. Here are six factors to consider when choosing an urgent care center near you.
1.) Hours:One national survey reported that over two-thirds of urgent care centers are open before 9:00 am. This is good, but many such centers are open 24/7. Try looking for one with open availability, because let’s face it accidents and illnesses don’t plan their attack around business hours.
2.) Location:The best center does no good to you if it’s 500 miles away. Find the location that meets the most of these criteria and is nearest to you. Only then will master you become.
3.) Staff:To get a true answer this might take the experience of actually going to and using an emergency clinic. That doesn’t mean you can’t do your homework and look around beforehand though. Many urgent care units are listed on websites such as Yelp! and you can read other peoples experiences to get an idea of the quality of the staff. Finding one with a doctor won’t be hard as over 95% of them are physician-staffed.
4.) Cleanliness:Again, either real experience or trusting the determination of an online-reviewer. One of those things you can’t really define, but you definitely know it if you see it…
5.) Wait Time:The short wait times are one of the biggest selling points for these trending walk in health clinics. The majority of clinics (69%) boast a 20 minute or less average. This is one of the more random factors as you can’t predict how many freak accidents/massive outbreaks might occur in your area at any given time which would obviously affect wait times. Still, how quickly they can get through the paperwork and formalities is another measure of a good staff.
6.) Care:The most important aspect of all: how well do they treat your condition? This one you can only truly answer after each individual visit, but is what you will remember the most. There’s no substitute for the quality care of professional treatment, and another perfect example of a situation where you will know if you picked the right urgent care center the second you walk out the door.
In the end, you are looking for the best service for you, your family, or your friends. Take these things into consideration and pick out the center you think will fit best. If the experience is sub-standard do everyone else a favor and leave an honest review. Then cross it off your list and try the next one (chances are there will be a next time).