How Convenient Care has the Best of Both Worlds
The urgent care model is growing in popularity, with about one in four Americans reporting that they’ve visited a walk-in clinic in the last two years. However, urgent care clinics are underutilized compared to emergency services, even though the average person is not more likely to have a medical emergency. Patients often don’t completely understand the difference between emergency centers and urgent care, and so they err on the side of caution by going to the ER.
With that said, many emergency center visits are actually unnecessary. Anywhere from 44-65% of emergency room trips are minor ailments that could have been treated in an urgent care. Not only does this end up costing patients more money, but emergency room visits also have longer wait times, particularly for patients who come in with flu-like symptoms such as a fever or itchy eyes. Patients with acute and/or obviously life-threatening illnesses will always receive priority, meaning that other patients need to wait for an average of 30 minutes (but often longer) for care.
With that said, patients can’t be expected to know the difference between a medical emergency and a minor (yet very inconvenient) illness. If pneumonia and a common cold have similar initial symptoms, how do you know if you need to visit the ER or the family urgent care? Only 3% of patients who visit an urgent care are referred to an emergency room, but being able to find the proper treatment the first time around ensures that less time and money is spent on care.
A convenient care avoids this problem by housing the emergency center and urgent care under one roof. With shorter wait times, reduced cost for minor illnesses, and after hours medical care available, convenient care really strives to be convenient. A good convenient care location should also act as a family urgent care, so children have access to pediatric care as well.
With the convenient care model, patients no longer need to worry about whether or not their bronchitis is an emergency, or whether their child’s shortness of breath warrants calling a doctor after 5 pm. Finding the nearest convenient care to meet your family’s needs is a fool-proof way to ensure the health and wellness for everyone.