Many people end up using the emergency room as their primary source of healthcare, because of the lack of alternatives. However, medical walk in clinics are transforming the healthcare landscape, giving people a chance to receive primary care in a neighborhood setting. It’s a quicker, less expensive alternative to a trip to the ER. Walk in clinics can handle most non emergency medical situations, from the flu to fast std testing.
A return to primary care
The spread of neighborhood urgent care clinics has meant a return to primary healthcare. Urgent care facilities operate on a walk in basis. Many even offer free parking! Most are open on weekends as well and have extended hours. There’s never a long wait to see a nurse or doctor, and most testing and diagnostics can be done on site.
Many walk in health clinics can even dispense prescription medications on site, saving time and an extra trip to the pharmacy. For everything from physical exams to fast std testing, family health clinics are a better choice for primary health care.
Anxiety and memory loss in the elderly
Community health clinics can treat most non emergency medical conditions and injuries. As primary health care facilities, they also offer treatment for depression, anxiety and weight loss. Especially among the elderly, anxiety and depression reach high levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that depression occurs among elderly people at rates of 3 to 13.5%.
Among adults over 65 years of age, one out of 20 suffers from memory loss. While there is no cure for diseases like Alzheimer’s, these can be controlled and managed to give the patient the best possible quality of life. Treatment for depression and memory loss can begin with the primary care physician, who will provide referrals to specialists and therapists as they are needed.
Urgent care v. emergency room
For most non emergency conditions, urgent care is the better alternative. It’s less time consuming than a trip to the ER. Wait times have been increasing in hospital emergency departments, up from 46.5 minutes in 2003 to 58.1 minutes in 2009. Urgent care visits cost about a third of an emergency room visit for the the same treatment.
They can also handle most treatments and offer on site diagnostics, including fast std testing.
For convenience and quality care, urgent care centers are a better choice for primary health care. The demand for primary physicians in the U.S. is expected to grow to 52,000 by 2025. To meet this demand, urgent care centers will continue to serve primary healthcare needs.