Let’s face it – accidents happen. That doesn’t mean, though, that every accident warrants a trip to the emergency room. While there are certainly some injuries and ailments that do qualify as emergencies, there are many more that aren’t quite so serious, but do require medical attention.
For these less serious mishaps, your best option for quick and reliable medical treatment is heading straight for a qualified urgent care center. If you’ve sprained your ankle, think you might have strep throat, or merely can’t get an appointment soon enough with your normal doctor, urgent care centers are a huge useful option for treatment.
Many people avoid urgent care centers due to misunderstandings about exactly what they are and what kind of service they provide. Below are three of the most common myths surrounding urgent care centers.
1. They’re the same thing as an emergency room
Emergency room visits should be reserved for life threatening emergencies. For one, a trip to an emergency room can be very costly. Second, if emergency rooms are busy with non-emergencies, it makes it more difficult to treat patients who really are in danger. If you want to get care now but wouldn’t classify your issue as a life-threatening emergency, an urgent care center is likely the correct option.
2. You have to make an appointment
An appointment is not required for an urgent care center. In fact, many people visit these treatment centers specifically when they can’t get an appointment soon enough with their primary care physician or other doctor. You can always walk in and add your name to the waiting list. That said, many urgent care centers do take same day appointments and some even have portals online where you can sign up for a slot. While making an appointment isn’t required, it can expedite your visit to an urgent care center.
3. The quality of care is less than that of other medical centers
Some patients avoid urgent care centers because they think the quality of medical treatment provided is inferior to that at a “regular” doctor’s office or emergency room. All doctors and nurses in an urgent care center have the same qualifications as their counterparts in other locations. The main difference is that while you develop a relationship with your primary care physician and he or she comes to know you as a patient, in an urgent care center you will see the first doctor who is available, regardless of who you may have seen on your previous visit. Urgent care is also not the place to seek specialty treatment.
Choosing a Quality Urgent Care Center
If you have an injury or ailment that is not an emergency, but would like to get medical attention immediately, urgent care centers are a good option for you. Check with your insurance provider to find out what a visit to an urgent care center will cost you, and to get recommendations of good centers in your area. It’s always a good idea for you and your family members to know how to reach the nearest urgent care center, so that you can make an impromptu visit when something comes up.