Walk in urgent care clinics are a large part of a growing movement that is challenging the field of traditional American health care. Filling the void between the limited-hours of primary care physicians and the long wait times and large bills of hospitals, urgent care walk in clinics are built upon the idea of placing the patient’s care as the priority. There are approximately 6,800 urgent care centers across the nation, with two out of three centers employing a mix of physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants — 65% of centers have at least one on-site physician on staff at all times. Because of their focus on patient care, 57% of urgent care facilities have a wait time of less than 15 minutes with 80% of visits taking less than 60 minutes for completion. The American health care field is changing rapidly, here are three services that most people wouldn’t have expected from urgent care.
Each year, anywhere between 5% to 20% of the American population will come down with a case of the flu every year. In addition to the flu, there are about 1 billion cases of the cold each year among Americans, as many repeatedly get a common cold several times per year. Primary care physicians and hospitals are able to give patients flu shots, but without insurance coverage most people don’t have a primary care physician or want to pay the sometimes outrageous hospital bills. Many urgent care centers are able to offer vaccines at a fraction of the price and wait time of a hospital. A majority of urgent care centers are also able to offer intravenous fluids in emergency cases of dehydration and other conditions.
An increasingly scrutinizing public has called out a number of medical providers over the past few years over inflated medical bills. Those with insurance can typically avoid some of these inflated bills (like those from hospitals that have charged up to $25 per Tylenol capsule), yet there was a time when people in need of urgent medical attention were forced to resign to such bills at a hospital emergency room. There are approximately 6.8 million bones that are broken in the United States every year. In the case of fractures, about 80% of urgent care clinics around the country have the capability to mend and secure broken bones and other miscellaneous fractures. Combined with the speed of urgent care, many patients are enjoying shorter wait times and smaller medical bills at a fraction of the price that hospitals charge.
Many people overlook the threat of sexually transmitted diseases despite the message of sexual education courses which urges participants to use protection. Many polyamorous individuals fear the judgment, scrutiny, and results of an STD test. Thankfully, nearly all urgent care facilities are able to offer STD testing to patients while guaranteeing the same medical anonymity promised of all medical professionals. Those taking an STD test can typically expect results within a few weeks to a month depending on the nature of the testing — furthermore urgent care facilities can contact individuals discreetly to schedule a follow-up visit or to transmit information at the patient’s convenience and discretion.