How Do You Decide Where to Get Your Health Care?
Families are accustomed to health care issues. From head aches to pink eye and from strep throat to broken bones, it can sometimes feel as if you simply move from one health care situation to another. And while it may seem like an appointment with your family physician is the most likely solution, these appointments may not always be the best solution. And while a broken bone once meant a trip to the emergency room, today x-ray services are available in many walk-in urgent care settings. Knowing where to go for medical help can make your choice more affordable and more effective.
Family Physician, ER and Urgent Care Settings Offer Different Price Structures
In the grand scheme of health care pricing, nothing is more expensive than a hospital emergency room. In fact, the average cost for an urgent care visit is approximately $103 for every patient. This affordable walk-in clinic price compares to $302 for every patient with an average hospital emergency department visit, according to an article titled “Projecting U.S. PrimaryCare Physician Workforce Needs: 2010-2025.”
Family Physician, ER and Urgent Care Settings Offer Different Triage Procedures
Walking into a hospital emergency room means that you are walking into a setting that also deals with life and death situations. When, for instance, an ambulance arrives with a patient in cardias arrest, that patient must be given priority. Several ambulances with patients who are in need of immediate care translates into many patients getting moved to the front of the line.
In an urgent care setting, however, patients are seen in the order in which they have arrived. This means that by making a quick call or checking online, you can often see exactly how long it might take to see a doctor. In fact, nearly 60% of all urgent care centers have a wait time of less than 15 minutes to see a physician or mid-level provider. This is possible because 65% have a physician on-site at all times.
Family Physician, ER and Urgent Care Settings Offer Different Patient Care Hours
Family medicine does not have to be complicated. Instead of calling weeks ahead for an appointment for a school physical, for example, walk-in health clinics offer appointments with no appointment at all. And while family care providers offer limited office hours, urgent care clinics offer a far wider range. In fact, 97% of all urgent care centers in 2014 operates seven days a week; 99% are open at least four hours a day.
Conveniently located in neighborhoods and strip malls, these urgent care centers allow families an avenue for quick and convenient care. The fact that urgent care clinics average seven exam or treatment rooms means that they are able to provide privacy and care to several patients at once.