Top Reasons for an Urgent Care Visit
Urgent care is a type of healthcare facility that provides services outside a traditional doctor’s office, on a first-come, first-served basis. Some of the common reasons to visit an urgent care clinic include minor injuries, illnesses, infections, physical exams, vaccinations, and lab tests. To consult our professionals, contact us today or schedule an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in Alexandria VA, and Ruther glen VA.
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Unlike a visit to the doctor’s office, urgent care services are available on a walk-in basis. The healthcare delivery model of these clinics is focused on the treatment of patients that are experiencing acute signs or symptoms of a medical condition and therefore require immediate medical care, and who do not have access to or need a referral for more specialized treatment.
Urgent care is a new form of healthcare, which involves offering fast, convenient and accessible services for minor to moderate medical problems, such as sprains, strains, cuts, small burns, flu-like symptoms, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and ear infections. Urgent care is the fastest-growing form of healthcare in the country and is a major economic driver for the US healthcare system. The purpose of urgent care is to provide patients with the highest quality, convenient and accessible healthcare services possible, in a single location, without the need to make an appointment beforehand.
Urgent care specializes in providing medical services at an acute level, for unexpected healthcare needs or injuries that are not serious enough to warrant a visit to the hospital emergency room but cannot wait until a doctor’s appointment.
Up until a few years ago, many people were not aware of the convenience of urgent care; instead, they would overburden hospitals with minor ailments and concerns. However, as more people learn about the benefits and purpose of urgent care, these medical centers are becoming better utilized, which improves the efficiency of the entire healthcare system.
Based on the percentage of urgent care claims, the age group that utilizes this service the most is 31 to 40, which accounts for 18 percent of the utilization; the next largest age groups were 41 to 50 (15.7 percent) and ages 23 to 30 (15.2 percent). Furthermore, women of all ages (except the 0-10 age group) contributed to nearly 60 percent of utilization, with the most significant utilization occurring within the 19 to 22 age group (64 percent).
The benefits of urgent care include:
• Better hours than a doctor’s office
• Reduces healthcare costs
• Quicker service than an ER
• No appointments necessary
• Treats a wide range of health concerns
The term “emergency” is used to refer to a life-threatening situation that requires immediate care in order to preserve one’s health and wellbeing. “Urgent,” on the other hand, while similar in meaning, refers to a medical situation that requires immediate care, but does not pose a threat to someone’s life or limb. Because of these similar definitions, it is easy to see why there is so much confusion between urgent care and emergency care. Even still, this elucidation may not fully explain the difference between the two healthcare centers, so it helps to look at the disparities, which include:
• Level of Care Provided — Emergency rooms are equipped to handle the most severe injuries and illnesses, with advanced equipment and specialists onsite. Urgent care does not have the capacity to provide this level of care, nor is it designed to; urgent care is set up to handle less severe injuries and illnesses, which lessen the strain on the ER when utilized properly. Furthermore, the medical professionals onsite at the ER come from a diverse range of backgrounds and specialties, whereas urgent care is typically staffed by a doctor or nurse practitioner.
• Hours of Operation — While urgent care clinics are open later than a typical doctor’s office, with hours of availability during evenings and weekends, ERs are open 24/7, every day of the year.
• Cost of Care — In virtually every situation, it is more expensive to go to the ER versus urgent care when treating the same condition. This is due to the hours of operation, the level of expertise of the staff, and the equipment onsite, among other factors.
If you are looking for a trusted and qualified urgent care center, come to PACS Urgent Care today! There is no need to book an appointment, simply visit one of our two locations. For more information, call us today or schedule an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in Alexandria VA, and Ruther glen VA. We serve patients from Alexandria VA, Ruther Glen VA, Bagdad VA, Athens VA, Balty VA, and Doswell VA.