Less than one third, or 29 percent, of primary care physicians currently practicing in the United States do not have after hours coverage. This is one of the reasons why convenient care centers are growing in popularity. They are also becoming more popular because they operate on a walking basis, generally have shorter wait times than emergency rooms, and can attend to medical situations when a physicians office is closed.
Convenient care centers evaluate and treat acutely arising conditions. Some of the conditions that are most often treated at convenient care centers include sprains and strains, fractures, upper respiratory illnesses, lacerations, concussions, and gastrointestinal conditions such as food poisoning. While these types of medical urgent care conditions are the main focus of most convenient care centers, many of these urgent care centers also provide lab services, X rays, and routine physicals.
Almost two thirds of convenient care centers employ a mix of physicians, physicians assistants or nurse practitioners. About 65 percent of convenient care centers have at least one doctor on site at all times.
Many of these convenient care centers operate on a 24 hour basis, so patients can be seen whenever the need arises. As was previously stated, these after hours urgent care centers will also have the patient treated and released much more quickly than an ER visit. Additionally, these care centers are often less expensive than a trip to the emergency room. In fact, a trip to the emergency room can average around $1,500, while a visit to a convenient care clinic will cost around $150.
If you have a family who needs after hours care because they are accident prone or have a tendency to get sick in the middle of the night, these urgent care facilities can be very beneficial. You will be able to get immediate treatment for the condition. You can then make a follow up visit to your regular doctor during his or her regular office hours.
Having the convenience and availability of these convenient care facilities will give you a greater peace of mind, knowing that medical attention is readily available. Make sure you know where the closest urgent care locations are to your home. Get more on this here.