The number of people visiting urgent care centers for primary care and treatment for simple illnesses and injuries has been increasing steadily. Urgent care clinics provide services that the majority of patients rank as excellent or good, with many convenient features. There is no need to make an appointment in advance, and wait times are short, usually less than half an hour. Urgent care centers can treat most common medical problems.
Who visits urgent care clinics?
The number of people visiting urgent care clinics is rising steadily. During the 2016 fiscal year, they averaged over 15,000 visits, according to the Urgent Care Association. On average, the same source reports that urgent care centers treat three patients every hour and about 50 each day. These numbers add up over one-fourth of all medical visits in the country.
In 2016, about 27% of patients in the U.S. had visited an urgent care center within the past two years. The number of urgent care centers in the country stands at around 7,357, according go the the 2016 Benchmarking Report from the Urgent Care Association of America. For many people, urgent care clinics have become the first choice for primary care for themselves and their families.
Why are people choosing urgent care?
There are many reasons why people choose urgent care. They may choose an urgent care center because of the short wait times, and discover that they receive quality medical treatment from highly qualified medical professionals. Around 22% of patients surveyed said they chose the center because they had heard about the shorter wait times. Another 21% said that the convenient location was their reason.
Patients who have been to an urgent care center found that they receive quality treatment there. A survey conducted in 2016 found that the vast majority, or 75% of those surveyed, said they would describe the treatment they received as excellent or good. All of these reasons explain why more and more people are choosing to make urgent care centers their primary care healthcare solutions.
What do urgent care clinics treat?
Urgent care clinics treat most simple illnesses and injuries, and offer a convenient alternative to an emergency room visit. As many as 97% of all patients who come to an urgent care center can be treated right there. Only about 3% have to be moved to an emergency department. For most medical problems, this makes them a better choice for patients, allowing them to skip the long, stressful waits at the ER. In fact, the 2017 Benchmarking Report Summary from the Urgent Care Association reports wait times of 30 minutes or less at 90% of the clinics.
This means that for medical problems requiring urgent treatment, such as food poisoning, rashes, burns, fractures, etc., urgent care centers are the better choice. In 2016, the most common medical problems treated were acute upper respiratory infections, acute sinusitis, pharyngitis, coughs, and fevers. The wide range of medical problems treated makes these medical centers a good choice for family primary care as well.
There are many reasons why people choose urgent care centers for their primary care. Convenient locations with walk-in care, short wait times, qualified staff and quality treatment all add up to model of healthcare that meets the real needs of people.