How do you select a medical clinic or physician? Do you put your trust in the doctors ratings you see online? Or, are word-of-mouth and personal recommendations of more value to you?
One survey found that nearly 60% of adults in the United States find doctors ratings on web sites were at least somewhat important to them. And, it’s true that there’s a trend among people active on the internet to take them into consideration much as they would when deciding upon a repair person, a restaurant or a movie to see. But other factors are still more important, such as whether the doctor will accept a consumer’s insurance or even how convenient the office location is. Many doctors ratings systems allow you to see how others have rated the staff, the wait time and whether or not the physician was helpful and knowledgeable regarding the ailment or condition presented to him or her for treatment.
Have you ever used the services of an urgent care center or walk-in clinic? They do a brisk business and they’re convenient, with 85% of them open seven days a week. In 2012, the condition most commonly diagnosed in urgent care centers was upper respiratory problems, and the procedure most often performed was wound repair.
There are 20,000 doctors practicing urgent care medicine, and they handle some three million patient visits a week. But it’s important to know that not every location provides exactly the same degree of service. For example, only 80% of urgent care centers are able to treat fractures.
So what determines whether you go to an urgent care facility rather than a hospital emergency room? The most important thing to consider is the immediacy of the need. Symptoms of heart attack or stroke need to be treated as quickly as possible. In those cases, a call to 911 is necessary and the patient will be taken to the hospital, where care will be provided as quickly as possible. But in non-emergency situations, the wait time at an urgent care center is likely to be quite a bit shorter.