Walk-in clinics provide important medical care for those in need. They are increasingly popular-and for good reason. They provide a host of benefits in one central location. Below is a list of five reasons why this type of facility beats out an emergency room alternative.
The Cost Is Much Less
Although you'll get the same great service at a walk-in clinic as you would in an emergency room, you'll pay much less. This is excellent for individuals who can't afford health insurance, as well as for families with plans that contain high deductibles. There are several reasons why these facilities cost less than hospital emergency rooms; for example, since hospitals are so much larger it is more expensive to maintain them. That drives the cost of service up for anyone who needs to be seen or admitted due to an illness or injury.
The Wait Times Are Shorter
At many hospitals, the staff often take several hours to see, diagnose, and treat their patients. This often eats up a big chunk of a patient's day. A walk-in clinic works much the same way as a doctor's office does: patients are examined by a physician in a timely manner. Most visits don't take longer than an hour from the moment a person signs in to the time he or she walks out the front door.
X-Rays and Lab Services Are Available
Urgent care centers offer much more than just checking for ear infections or fevers. Many are also equipped with lab facilities for drawing blood or x-ray machines to check for broken bones. These are services that a family physician can't offer without referring the patient to another facility. This added convenience means that a parent can quickly have a child's broken wrist diagnosed without first going to the pediatrician's office, only to be sent to the diagnostics center or ER, which could take up an entire afternoon.
It Leaves Emergencies For the Emergency Room
Utilizing the walk-in clinic for broken bones, throat infections, and cuts that need stitches means less crowding in the emergency room. This leaves just the true emergencies for the hospital staff to tend to. This includes life-and-death situations, immediate surgeries, and blood transfusions. In other words, choosing an urgent care facility can help save the life of someone who needs immediate assistance by keeping the hospital from becoming overcrowded.
Records Can be Forwarded
All urgent care clinics are willing to work with a patient's physician. They will forward all medical documents from the visit to any doctor's office once the visit is complete, if this service is requested by the patient. Hospitals typically work the other way around, requiring that the family doctor calls their record's office and requests a copy of the patient's information. This takes a little more time, which can mean a delay in any required follow-up treatment.
Both facilities offer board-certified physicians that care about their client's well-being. Although walk-in clinics are preferable for everyday injuries, always choose an ER when a life is at risk.