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Are All Urgent Care Clinics the Same?

urgent-care-officeWhen you’ve got an urgent medical situation on your hands, the last thing you want is uncertainty over which urgent care clinic you should visit. These medical facilities have become a widely used option in the United States, with nearly 10,000 centers available nationwide. That means there will be several urgent care centers available in most locales, whether you’re located in New Jersey or any other state.

So how do you know which one to choose? Are all urgent care centers more or less the same? What specific things should you look for, and what should you avoid?

Any urgent care clinic with the following traits will almost certainly provide a higher quality of treatment. If you know ahead of time where to find the highest quality urgent care clinic near you, those urgent medical situations will be easier to get through.

1. Highly-qualified, full-time physicians
Urgent care exists for injuries or illnesses that are serious but not life-threatening. This means the situation is probably beyond the scope of a primary care physician or standard clinic. You therefore want to make sure that your urgent care clinic has highly-trained, experienced doctors on call who can be trusted to handle acute medical situations. Most urgent care centers will list their doctors (and their qualifications) on their web sites. This is a good place to get a feel for what kind of doctors will be looking after you if you choose to visit that clinic.

A small percentage of urgent care clinics don’t actually have a full-time physician on staff. This is usually a sign that better urgent care clinics can be found elsewhere.

2. Extended hours
Urgent medical issues don’t always adhere to ordinary business hours, yet some clinics are only open 9-5 and closed on weekends. It’s important to choose a clinic that’s available to you during the evenings, and also on weekends, without an appointment. Otherwise, the only option available to you for urgent medical care would be the ER, which can be very crowded and expensive.
3. Location
You may have found an urgent care clinic that seems to tick all the right boxes, but if it’s too far away from where you live, seeking treatment there can be problematic. Urgent medical matters need to be dealt with promptly, and convenience is a vital part of whether a clinic will work for you and your loved ones. Statistically, most urgent care centers nationwide are located in suburban areas, with urban and rural areas accounting for only around 25% of all urgent care centers. It’s important to keep this in mind when choosing the right clinic for you.
4. Friendly, Accommodating Staff
Too often, people report negative experiences at urgent care centers and other medical facilities. This may be because the staff are stressed and dealing with an unusual number of patients, but that’s still no excuse! Urgent Care Staff should make you feel important and cared for, from the moment you walk through the door. They should do everything they can to make you comfortable as you await treatment.

What do you look for in an urgent care center? We’d love to see your comments in the boxes below, or contact us for more information about our facility.

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