Healthcare services are of paramount importance but the reality is that the huge demand and supply gap has resulted in a situation where people have to wait for days to get an appointment with a primary care provider. Not only this, but it is very difficult to get same day access to healthcare facilities or get after hours care for sick people. Similarly immediate emergency treatment is often not possible due to overcrowding of the emergency departments. Such problems have been mitigated to some extent by the proliferation of urgent medical care centers. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, the number of urgent care centers increased to 8,700 in the year 2010-2011. This was 304 more than the number of centers that existed in the year 2009-2010.
Role and Advantages of Urgent Medical Care Centers
The absence of quick treatment centers has forced patients to look around for urgent medical care at alternative locations. The increasing number of urgent care centers in the last one decade has, however, improved the situation to some extent. These new centers are open for long hours, offer unscheduled appointments in addition to a range of lab services. These centers are successfully handling the overflow of acute care patients who are not able to get necessary medical aid from primary care and emergency sections.
Urgent medical care centers play a key role in meeting the medical aid requirements of a patient while preventing any kind of emergency or threat to an individual’s life. These centers focus on providing one on one attention to visiting patients who are in need of immediate medical care and treatment. These urgent medical care centers also treat problems that may not constitute an emergency but require medical treatment and care quickly. Some examples of such cases are:
- Injuries due to accidents and falls
- Sprains and broken bones that are not life threatening
- Difficulty in breathing
- Pain in back or abdomen
- Small cuts due to an accident or injury that require stitches
- Problems such as high fever and dehydration
- Severe cough or asthma related issues
These urgent medical care centers are open even on Saturdays and Sundays as well as on other holidays. They are open even late in the evening to ensure that more and more people can get the necessary treatment for their health problems. These centers provide a wide range of services that include treating pediatric and adult non life threatening injuries and ailments. Many of these centers also offer limited on site lab facilities, X-rays facilities and EKG. The staff of these centers is well qualified and equipped to handle various health problems and ailments requiring urgent care. Another service offered by these urgent medical care centers is that they forward a patient’s treatment record to his/her family physician. This ensures appropriate follow up and continued care for the patient.