Clearing the Confusion Surround Urgent Care Centers
The American healthcare industry has gone through a revolution of sorts over the course of the last decade. Between the passing of the Affordable Care Act which made it mandatory for all Americans to be insured, to the growing popularity of urgent care express centers, the healthcare industry has undergone a number of different changes designed to improve the level of care offered to Americans.
Once frown downed upon and considered “Doc-in-a-box” clinics, urgent care centers have expanded to become an integral part of the American healthcare industry as they continue to close the void between primary care providers and hospital emergency rooms. In fact, urgent care express centers have become so popular and have grown to become so critical, it’s difficult to imagine what the healthcare industry would do without them.
Unlike primary care physicians who are more likely focused on the “big picture” of their patient’s health, urgent care facilities are reserved for the treatment of acutely arising injuries or conditions that require immediate medical attention but are still not severe enough to warrant treatment at a hospital emergency room. Common examples include cuts or abrasions, sprains and strains, and cold and flu viruses among others.
However, while many urgent care facilities across the country have expanded the range of urgent care services offered — many are now equipped with x-ray rooms, lab services, and in-house prescription dispensaries — urgent care is not a replacement for emergency medical care. In fact, according to an online poll conducted in December 2014 by the American College of Emergency Physicians, a whopping 75% of emergency room physicians harbor concern that patients with serious medical conditions may seek treatment at an urgent care center that is not properly equipped to treat them as opposed to seeking emergency treatment.
While the line between emergency and urgent care is often blurred, urgent care clinics continue to remain an essential component of the healthcare industry as a whole.