Recent estimates indicate that there are over 7,500 urgent care centers in the United States and about 500 more are opened every year. These centers position themselves as viable alternatives to hospitals and emergency rooms: at least, for non-critical illnesses. Given their growing numbers, it has become important to come up with a way to separate the good from the bad.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right urgent care clinic:
How qualified are the caregivers?
The best urgent care centers will have a board-certified medical doctor available at all times. The doctor will be assisted by a team of registered nurses, licensed physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners.
Can appointments be made remotely?
The major reason that people prefer urgent care centers is that it takes too long to get a doctor’s appointment at the bigger hospitals. Therefore, it makes no sense to go to an urgent care facility and end up on a queue. Choose a clinic that allows you to make appointments on their website or over the phone.
What range of services do they offer?
Ensure that the urgent care center you decide on is equipped to provide primary care services, handle walk-ins and emergency, and caters to children (if you have them). Also, ensure that they accept your health insurance plan.
Are they affiliated with fully-equipped hospitals?
While urgent care facilities are good for primary care services, they often need to send patients to more-equipped hospitals for critical conditions. The best facilities are affiliated with the major hospitals and emergency rooms in their vicinity.
Ideally, the smart option would be to make your findings before you need urgent care. You don’t want to find out in the process of receiving treatment that your “doctor” is actually a second-year medical student.