What services do urgent care clinics offer? If you don't need emergency medical services for a severe or serious injury, illness, or health-related condition, take a look at what you need to know about urgent care and how one of the centers can help you right now.
Are Urgent Care Centers Common?
Simply stated—yes. Not only are these clinics common, urgent care is a booming business that's growing. In 2018 there were 8,100 of these clinics across the country, with a projected addition of 500 to 600 more in the following year, according to the Urgent Care Association (UCA).
Who Can Go to a Care Center?
Unlike a pediatrician's office or an adult internist, urgent care providers don't only serve one specific age range or segment of the population. Most of these clinics offer services for everyone—from young children to seniors.
Do These Healthcare Clinics Offer Specialty Services?
Do you need to see a specialist? If you have an existing diagnosis or need to see a doctor who has extensive experience in a specialty such as cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, or dermatology, an urgent care provider isn't the right option for you. But if you need a general medical service, this type of clinic can help.
Can You Get a Diagnostic Test?
The answer to this question depends on what type of test you need. Many of these clinics offer basic throat cultures or nasal swabs, some types of blood tests, urinalysis, pregnancy tests, STD tests, drug tests, or x-rays. While these are general tests it's possible to get at a care clinic, not every center offers each option. If you know you'll need a specific test, contact the clinic and ask about the services.
What Other Services Do Clinics Offer?
Diagnostic testing isn't the only service you can get at this type of clinic. Along with blood tests and imaging, you can also get a doctor's exam and much more. Again, the specific services vary by center. But these may include the treatment of bacterial infections (such as strep throat), viral infections (such as the flu), sprains, muscle strains, bug bites, minor (non-life-threatening) allergic reactions, cuts and scrapes, and broken bones.
Can You Get Medication At a Clinic?
Many of these healthcare providers also offer prescription medication services. Along with a doctor's prescription, some clinics can also fill the order. Common types of medications some clinics offer include antibiotics, antiviral/anti-flu prescriptions, and anti-inflammatories. Look for an urgent care center in your area.