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Alternative To ER: Urgent Care Clinics

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Have you ever been feeling under the weather, but could not get in to see your doctor for days or even weeks? With the growing number of illnesses and the population, getting in to see your primary doctor for a same day appointment isn't always possible. This used to leave you with only two real options: tough it out until you can get in to see your doctor or go to the emergency room. Urgent care/immediate doctor type places existed as early as 1970, but they were few and far between, and their rise was slow over the next 20 years or so. Thankfully, in recent years many towns are opening up several urgent care or walk in clinics. There are over 7,500 urgent care clinics in the United States. These types of facilities are ideal for not only you as a patient but for emergency rooms as well. The wait at the ER is always long because they're overwhelmed with people who come in for all types of issues, many of which are not considered emergencies. But with urgent care clinics on the rise, this leaves patients with options. 

Urgent care clinics are beneficial because you can get in to see a doctor that day without an appointment. As long as you are in the door one hour before closing, you are typically guaranteed to be seen. Additionally, many clinics are now offering appointment systems, where you can make an appointment online and then come in when it's your time. This is helpful because it cuts down on the amount of time you have to wait at the doctor's office. Moreover, urgent cares are fully loaded with a variety of medical equipment onsite, which enhances their ability to help patients with non-life and limb threatening illnesses and injuries. So whether you break a bone and need an x-ray, or if you're feeling under the weather and need medicine, or if your visit requires blood work, everything can be done at an urgent care. 

Over the last couple of years there has been a spike in industry growth that seems to be fueled by a confluence of events and awareness - primary care being somewhat hard to come by depending upon the patient's health insurance and doctor availability. Physicians are seeing the need for these clinics in their communities due to emergency room wait times and overcrowding spreading, and they are bringing them to their patients. Most recently, the private equity community has noticed urgent care as a viable business model and their investments have also fueled growth from within the industry itself. 

Urgent care visits are not for everyone. If your condition is serious or life threatening, do not go to an urgent care. You will need to go to an ER, or you risk delaying your care and injuring yourself further. Additionally, clinics are ideal for primary care because you won't always see the same doctor when you come in. This could be an issue if you do not know all of your medications by heart or keep a copy of them. Before you decide whether going to an urgent care is right for you, look at the pros and the cons of it and decide if this route is the one for you. 

To learn more, get in touch with a center like MED7 Urgent Care Center.