If you’ve ever developed an irritating rash, sustained a painful ankle sprain, or come down with a severe sinus infection, you’re probably familiar with urgent health care services.
Urgent care and walk-in clinics facilitate approximately 89 million patient visits every year in the United States. These visits account for nearly 30% of all primary care appointments, and almost 15% of all outpatient physician visits, nationwide.
Here at American River Urgent Care in Orangevale, California, we receive, evaluate, and treat non-emergency patients with pressing medical needs seven days a week. Here are five good reasons to seek urgent care instead of heading to the ER or waiting to visit your primary care doctor.
1. Convenient walk-in care
Urgent care clinics exist to bridge the gap between your primary care doctor and your local emergency room. In other words, it’s where you go when you have an illness or injury that isn’t life-threatening but can’t wait for a standard appointment with your regular physician.
Some of the most common reasons people seek urgent care are:
- Respiratory illnesses (cold, flu)
- Skin rashes and insect bites
- Lacerations that require repair
- Joint sprains and muscle strains
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
While it’s certainly possible to wait a day or two to see your regular doctor for many of these health issues, it’s preferable to receive immediate care at your convenience so you can begin the treatment and recovery process without delay.
2. Prompt medical attention
When you need prompt medical attention, you usually have two choices: go to the ER or head to your nearest urgent care clinic. Unless you’ve sustained a severe traumatic injury or you’re experiencing a life-threatening emergency, urgent care is almost always the best option.
Urgent care physicians are equipped to handle a full scope of mild to moderately serious symptoms and illnesses, ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to conjunctivitis (pink eye) and ear infections. They’re also prepared to treat minor asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
Urgent care clinics also offer prompt expert care for most minor to moderately serious injuries, including simple bone fractures, slight concussions, and deep lacerations that require stitches.
Choosing urgent care over the ER when your medical problem isn’t a full-on emergency also helps lighten the load for ER doctors and nurses, allowing them to treat serious problems more efficiently and effectively.
3. Walk-in care without the wait
Want another reason to choose an urgent care clinic over the emergency room when you need prompt medical attention? You’re much more likely to wait longer for care — sometimes for several hours — when you go to the ER.
About 40% of patients who visit the ER have a medical problem that doesn’t require high-level emergency care. This contributes to longer waiting room and treatment times (the average ER visit is three to four hours long) and increases the possibility that patients with serious medical issues receive less efficient care.
In contrast, about 70% of patients who seek urgent care at a walk-in clinic wait less than 20 minutes to see a provider, and nearly all patients are seen in less than 30 minutes.
4. In-house diagnostic lab
Most urgent care clinics have an onsite diagnostic lab that provides rapid or immediate results for a comprehensive list of medical tests. Point-of-care testing like rapid flu, rapid mono, blood sugar, urinalysis, and urine pregnancy tests offer immediate results; blood tests can take a bit longer to process.
As a full-service clinic that provides a wide range of services beyond urgent care, American River Urgent Care offers COVID-19 testing, blood and urine testing, STD testing, chest and extremity X-rays, EKGs, and more.
5. Affordable, low-cost care
The average urgent care visit tends to be more streamlined than the average trip to the ER, and that efficiency often translates into cost-saving affordability. In fact, most urgent care visits cost far less than going to the ER, whether you have health insurance or you’re paying out of pocket.
While the average ER visit costs well over $1,000, a typical urgent care visit costs closer to $100. American River Urgent Care accepts most major health insurance providers and offers low-cost payment options for uninsured patients.
Call 916-287-8569 to learn more about the urgent care services available at American River Urgent Care, or click online to schedule a same-day visit any time.