Urgent care medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that require immediate medical attention. These conditions can be life-threatening or simply require a higher level of care than can be provided at an outpatient clinic.
Urgent care facilities are typically staffed by doctors and nurses who have experience in dealing with these types of conditions, says Dr. Samuel Bride, the reputed medical director of UMD Urgent Care.
When you visit an urgent care facility for the first time, there are a few things you can do to make the most out of your visit:
- Follow the directions on the sign. Most urgent care facilities will have a sign posted at the entrance that will list the specific instructions for visitors. Be sure to follow these instructions so that you can be seen in a timely manner.
- Bring your insurance card. Urgent care facilities will likely accept most major insurance plans, but it is always best to bring your card with you just in case. This will help the consultation process your visit more quickly.
- Know your symptoms. The more information you can give the staff about your symptoms, the better they will be able to help you. Be prepared to answer questions about when your symptoms began, what makes them better or worse, etc.
- Wait for the right moment. Urgent care facilities see a lot of patients with a wide variety of conditions, so it may take a little while for you to be seen. Try to remain calm and patient as you wait for your turn.
When you visit an urgent care facility, you can expect to be seen by a doctor or nurse relatively quickly. The staff will ask you questions about your symptoms and may order tests such as x-rays or blood work in order to make a diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis has been made, the staff will develop a treatment plan for you and may provide medication or other treatment options on-site. In some cases, you may be referred to another specialist for further treatment.
There are many benefits of using urgent care facilities, including
- They provide quick access to quality medical care without an appointment
- They offer extended hours so that you can be seen even if your regular doctor’s office is closed
- They offer convenient walk-in service
Most insurance plans will cover visits to urgent care facilities, but it is always best to check with your provider before you go. In some cases, you may have to pay a co-pay or deductible before your insurance will cover the cost of your visit.
If you find yourself in need of medical attention but cannot get an appointment with your regular doctor, then an urgent care facility may be the best option for you. These facilities provide quick access to quality medical care without the need for an appointment. Be sure to bring your insurance card with you and know your symptoms so that the staff can help you in a timely manner.