What is Urgent Care?

What is Urgent Care?

Urgent care is often considered the bridge between traditional physicians and emergency rooms. Most likely, your primary care physician does not offer extended hours. Only 36% of doctors in the United States choose to do so. However, you might need urgent medical care that does not require an emergency room. That is what an urgent care center is used for primarily.

Related: Care Continuum: Where to Go When Your Sick or Injured [INFOGRAPHIC]

What is Urgent Care For?

If your regular physician is closed but you do not need emergency care, then an urgent care center is a good choice. They provide extended hours and, in most areas of the country, offer convenient locations for patients.

Urgent care centers are also a great choice for people who need immunizations. From the influenza shot to the bird flu vaccine, urgent care centers can inform and immunize patients.

While some people go to the ER for broken bones, they can choose urgent care locations with x-ray machines. It is much less expensive than an ER, and the service is much faster.

How to Choose a Location

Urgent care centers are each different and are owned by different parties. While some locations offer x-rays and board certified doctors, others might not have those options. When you choose a location, you should consider the type of care you need, the services that are offered at the location, any sort of patient ratings or reviews about the specific center or even whether or not the location is certified.

You can use the online search tools at Urgent Care Locations and filter capabilities to find an urgent care location that meets your needs. Check online to see if they allow online check-ins for appointments, as many centers now have that service.

Related: Who Works in Urgent Care Clinics?

When to Go to an ER

Knowing when to go to an emergency room is important. Urgent care centers are not equipped for certain medical conditions. Here are examples of care that should be received from emergency rooms:

  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Labor and birthing
  • Uncontrollable Bleeding
  • Heart Attack or Chest Pain
  • Stroke

Urgent care is an important aspect of medical care in the United States today. It offers uninsured patients a choice other than emergency rooms, and it offers extended hours for people who need care on weekends or after five at night.