The health care industry is currently one of the fastest growing global industries on the planet, and according to economists, the growth is not expected to slow down any time soon. One reason that the industry is growing so fast is that health care providers are being forced to meet the expectations of their patients. Where the past produced an environment in which the primary focus was the successful treatment of the patient, the new global economy has produced an experience driven environment in which customers and patients have higher expectations for their health care providers — forcing these providers to look for ways to improve the customer experience.
ER Alternative for Non-Life-Threatening Cases
One way that hospitals have looked to improve the experience of their patients is by increasing the number of urgent care centers within their region. Lacey urgent care centers provide a viable option for people who are in need of immediate medical treatment given that their health issues are not life-threatening. In the past, these people have been forced to visit the emergency room when they could not schedule an immediate appointment with their primary care physician; however, patients can now visit an urgent care center without having to schedule an appointment.
Additionally, most urgent care clinics in Lacey or anywhere else offer extended hours, with some staying open as late as 9:00 pm and beyond. Some are even open on weekends.
Urgent care may also provide an option for immediate health care that is significantly less expensive than other healthcare facilities. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, being treated at an urgent care center can result in costs that are half of what can be expected to be paid when visiting the emergency room.
More Convenience and Comfort for Patients
When patients with non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries are forced to visit the emergency room, it may lead to overcrowding and long waits, with some patients literally waiting hours to be seen. Urgent care facilities, which have increased by more than 1,200 since 2008 provide a more reasonable and responsive alternative for non-emergency situations. It is estimated that approximately three million patients visit urgent care centers on any given week.
Of the 9,200 urgent care facilities currently operating, nearly 30 percent are owned and operated by hospitals. Urgent care ensures that patients can find timely and responsive care for their illness.