Injuries and illnesses are the events in life that are expected but never welcome, and usually seem to happen at the least convenient time. A sports injury after your doctor’s office closes? Strep throat on Christmas Eve? Cutting your hand as you prepare the big family dinner? Many think, “Yup. Sounds about right.”
That’s when urgent care clinics are an important access point in the health care system.
Urgent Care is a walk-in clinic set up to assist those with non-threatening injuries and/or illnesses that are not serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room but cannot wait a day to be seen by a primary care physician. When you or a loved one are in need of urgent care, maximize your visit by following a few essential tips.
- Expect quality care. First and foremost, urgent care clinics are committed to treating the patient. You will be treated with the same care and consideration as you would from your primary physician or from the doctors in the ER, the goal being to create a welcoming environment for patients and their families.
- Keep an updated health history and medication list. The physicians at your local care center do not have any knowledge of pre-existing medical conditions or your medical history. To help the provider understand the full scope of you as a paitent, it’s a good idea to keep an updated record which includes all the prescriptions, herbs and supplements you’re currently taking. This helps doctors identify unwanted and potentially dangerous drug-to-drug and food-to-drug interactions. Read more about the importance of keeping an updated medication list.
- “Urgent” care does not necessarily mean speedy care. A patient’s wait time is difficult to predict because it is determined by seriousness of injury or illness––the more severe patients triaged first. However, a 2010 survey conducted by the Urgent Care Association of America found that 65 percent of patients wait less than 20 minutes to see a provider, while just 5 percent waited as long as 90 minutes. This is comparatively shorter than ER wait times, which reached an average of 58 minutes in 2009, according to a CDC report.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. Patients often feel too nervous to ask questions about prescriptions or their diagnosis. Get on the same page with your urgent care physician by being honest and asking questions.
- Write down your symptoms prior to your visit. It’s easy to forget to mention something to the doctor during conversation. Doing so beforehand can save a second trip and help ensure that you get the care that you need.
The next time you need to visit your local urgent care center, remember these tips to enhance your experience. If you would like more information about the symptoms and conditions urgent care clinic treat, or would like to learn more about Michigan Urgent Care’s services, contact us today.
Michigan Urgent Care and Occupational Health is dedicated to providing quality patient care for all adult and pediatric illnesses and injuries and is a leading occupational health service provider. Michigan Urgent Care was founded in 1998 by Dr. Mohammed Arsiwala and is designed to support primary care physicians and the patient-centered medical home care model.