For many years, Americans have used urgent care centers for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. Unlike the expensive and often “corporate” feel of emergency room and primary physician care, immediate medical care clinics offer an affordable, responsive and ultimately superior solution for many pressing medical needs.
It didn’t take long for patients to realize that clinics, such as Urgent Care Extra, were a great alternative to traditional ER services. Soon afterward, urgent care medical facilities began offering standard care as well – regular checkups, physicals, flu shots and more.
Hospitals, ERs, physician offices and other “traditional” forms of medical care soon took note, and the urgent care vs. primary care debate began soon afterwards. A generation ago, urgent care facilities were still considered somewhat of a novelty. The general thinking from the public was, “OK, this new urgent care center seems pretty interesting, and they have great hours, but can I really trust it to provide the kind of medical care I’ve been accustomed to?” It didn’t take long for most people to realize that urgent care clinics not only provided exceptional care, but also offered outstanding value. The urgent care vs. primary care cost comparison (for similar services) wasn’t even close – as far as affordable and effective care went, people started choosing urgent care over ERs and doctors’ offices.
The Urgent Care vs. Primary Care Debate – Interesting Facts and Figures
The move toward urgent care centers is partly due to a high convenience quotient; despite the overwhelming demand from the American public, most urgent care facilities (Urgent Care Extra included) have an average wait time of 15-20 minutes. Just try that at an emergency room any day of the week!
According to the U.S. News & World Report, the average wait time at an emergency room is over 30 minutes. Once the treatment time – another 90 minutes, minimum – is calculated, the total time spent at ERs is well over two hours. Contrast that with the quick, efficient treatment that patients receive at immediate care walk-in facilities, and it’s easy to see why the urgent care vs. primary care discussion is quickly becoming one-sided.
If you’re willing to dig a little deeper into the primary care vs. urgent care issue, it’s easier to understand the “how” and “why” urgent care is becoming so popular. Here are some things you probably didn’t know about urgent care walk-in healthcare centers:
- According to an industry-wide research study, nearly 90% of urgent care centers expect to see significantly more patient visits from the previous year.
- From the same study, more than 8 in 10 immediate care walk-in clinics showed a “total patient processing” time (waiting, care, patient release and sign-off) of approximately 60 minutes – significantly less than the 2+ hours at most ERs, and yet another reason why it’s not simply the “urgent care vs. primary care cost” factor that explains the impressive growth of urgent care centers across the U.S.
- Roughly 50% of all urgent care center visits cost less than $175, while the typical ER visit approaches $1,400!
- While most urgent care centers are located in suburban regions, there is also considerable expansion into rural areas.
- The efficient nature of immediate care centers is reflected in the average patients per hour most urgent care physicians receive. According to the latest data, an average UCE doctor will tend to 4-5 patients per hour. In other words, less red tape and more face-to-face care options for urgent care patients!
How big is the urgent care boom? As of last year, there were nearly 6,500 walk-in healthcare clinics in the United States. On average, each facility saw well over 300 patients per week, which translates to around 16,000 patients annually!
So what’s behind this massive switch? It’s actually a two-part story. Let’s take a look.
So Much More than “Follow the Money”
There’s no doubt that reduced cost plays a big role in the mainstream switch from ER and doctor’s office care to walk-in healthcare clinics. In fact, urgent care clinics can save patients up to 80% on comparable ER care, and this drastic difference in cost simply cannot be ignored.
With little or no bureaucratic red tape, streamlined operations, flexible insurance options and direct doctor-patient communication usually within minutes (not hours), urgent care clinics typically enjoy a more straightforward, efficient fiscal policy in which the savings are passed on to patients and customers.
Most hospital emergency rooms, meanwhile, are mired in costly administrative support structures. ERs are usually not separate business entities from their parent hospital, which means they’re subject to the same challenges that burden the entire organization.
But that still doesn’t entirely explain why individuals and families are switching to urgent care centers. The money trail is an essential part of the story, but it can only take you so far. To fully understand why urgent care has become so popular, you have to look at how patients benefit well beyond budgets and bottom lines.
Why Urgent Care Isn’t Going Away
Seismic shifts in patient preferences can’t be totally explained by lower medical bills. Any viable alternative to a decades-old way of doing something needs plenty of substance to supplement slashed costs. Urgent Care Extra’s growth has mirrored the tremendous rise of walk-in health clinics across the United States. We’ve responded to the needs of our customers (individuals, families, employees, employers, etc.) with custom services, targeted care strategies and flexible, convenient medical attention.
Aside from the obvious cost-saving benefits, walk-in medical centers (like Urgent Care Extra) must offer comprehensive care options. Pure price reductions alone won’t cut it. But with a full and customizable selection of services to offer, urgent care centers have become a favorite choice among healthcare consumers. The numbers don’t lie – each urgent care center in the U.S. tends to thousands of patients every year.
Urgent Care Extra’s own plans and services are testament to why people all over the country are choosing immediate care over traditional forms of medical treatment. Our own urgent and primary care solutions explain why patients are making the switch. Here’s what we have to offer:
Immediate Medical Attention for Injuries and Illnesses
The mass exodus from PCPs and ERs to urgent care walk-in clinics really got rolling due to the quality and quickness of medical care. For non-life-threatening injuries and illness, Urgent Care Extra is simply a faster, more customer friendly option.
Practical, Premium-Level Primary Care
Why schedule appointments days or weeks out when you can enjoy primary care physician (PCP) attention by just walking in? On-site dispensaries speed up the time from diagnosis to medication. Plus, Urgent Care Extra PCPs are available for extended hours. And if you don’t have insurance and would like to pay cash, we’ll work out the lowest possible rate.
Physicals (Including Sports Physicals)
Present-day parents can recall when getting a physical was much tougher than today. First, the PCP had to be contacted, then get an appointment scheduled, then wait for the results. Urgent Care Extra streamlines the process – with no appointment necessary, you can walk in and have your physical done in no time at all. Plus, we do routine sports physicals for scholastic sports leagues, too!
X-rays, Blood Tests and More
Every single Urgent Care Extra facility is equipped with x-ray equipment, and we can also process blood test and other clinical tests within minutes.
Medical Weight Loss Programs
Good health starts with a sensible eating plan and realistic fitness regimen. Urgent Care Extra offers proven medical weight loss plans for many patients – and most times, the program is covered with standard health insurance!
Great prices, minimal wait times, effective immunizations – Urgent Care Extra’s flu shots are a popular service during flu season, and for good reason. Our flu shot clinic is just one more reason Urgent Care Extra is an easy choice over cumbersome emergency room procedures.
Occupational Healthcare Plans
UCE can help implement occupational healthcare plans (also called wellness programs) on both a pre-employment and ongoing basis. We also have a multi-tier drug testing plan for optimal candidate selection. This type of service has made it much easier for employers to make their workplaces happier and healthier.
From physicals to full-service weight loss programs, from x-rays to occupational health, it’s easy to see why Americans are choosing walk-in urgent care clinics over emergency rooms and physician offices. With Urgent Care Extra, every patient gets the best of both worlds: the immediate medical attention that ERs provide, along with the personalized, long-term care options found at most doctors’ offices.
The rise of urgent care centers – and their increasing popularity – is a classic story of innovation. There was clearly a need for a “third option,” and urgent care centers eventually filled the void. Today, many Americans just assume an immediate care facility is up ahead or just down the block. But it wasn’t always this way; while the cost of urgent care vs. primary care is a big factor for the explosion of networks like Urgent Care Extra, that’s only part of the explanation.
The urgent care vs. primary care debate will probably always be with us, but one thing is indisputable right now: urgent care centers, walk-in health clinics and immediate care options comprise a major (and fast-growing) segment of the U.S. healthcare market.
Bottom line: the American people spoke, and urgent care centers listened. And Urgent Care Extra is proud to represent all the great services – lower cost, convenient hours, quality medical attention – that immediate care centers provide.
If you’re already a regular UCE visitor, you probably know about the advantages immediate care walk-in clinics provide. Hopefully this article lets you discover the full slate of immediate and long-term medical care options available at Urgent Care Extra. Many of our customers aren’t aware of all the different ways we can help!
Here’s another reason why we’re a preferred alternative to the ER, PCP and doctor’s office: we’re everywhere you are, just a short drive from Phoenix. With more than 30 walk-in healthcare clinics in Arizona, connecting with urgent care personnel for your medical attention needs has never been easier!
For general questions about Urgent Care Extra, please call our main number at (480) 988-9108.