What is urgent care and when to use it?

In the United States, urgent care is a walk-in clinic that focuses on providing ambulatory care with the help of dedicated medical staff.

If a person is having pain in the chest or he gets a cut on his finger, should he visit an emergency room or an urgent care center? This difficulty is cleared by dividing them into categories. Emergencies that are life-threatening like a heart attack or other serious injury should visit the emergency department also known as the emergency room (ER). On the other hand, an illness that is not life-threatening but a patient who is unable to wait for the next day can be treated at the urgent care center. Urgent care centersgive easy access to patients when a physician or primary care is not available. Medical experts at urgent care give attention to ensure the quality of treatment that patients need during days, nights, weekends, or holidays.

What condition should be considered an emergency? (1)

Life-threatening problems are considered emergency some of them are classified as:

  • Convulsions
  • Seizure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Compound fracture in which bone is protruded through skin.
  • The wound of deep knife
  • Wound of gunshot
  • Fever in a newborn who is less than three months
  • Heavy and uncontrollable bleeding
  • Severe burns
  • Poisoning
  • Problems related to pregnancy
  • Serious injury in the head, neck, and back
  • Severe pain in the abdomen
  • Severe pain in the chest
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Symptoms of a heart attack like chest pain that lasts more than two minutes
  • Symptoms of stroke such as loss of vision, sudden numbness, confusion, slurred speech, and weakness

What conditions should be treated at urgent care centers?

Urgent medical conditions are conditions that are not life-threatening but treatment should be given within 24 hours. Some examples of urgent medical conditions are:

  • Falls and accidents
  • Cuts that are not bleeding heavy but stitches are required
  • Difficulties in breathing like mild or moderate asthma
  • Diagnostic services like X-ray, and other laboratory tests
  • Redness and irritation in the eye
  • Fever or flu
  • Broken bones and fractures of fingers and toes that are minor
  • Moderate back pain
  • Severe sore throat and cough
  • Skin rashes and infections
  • Sprains and strains
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration

Services provided at urgent care centers

Urgent care centers have now become the most important resource of health for people around the world. It is estimated that there will be 15,000 urgent care centers at the end of 2019. And thousands of people will get the urgent care services they need, without the wastage of time and money that they would spend in the emergency room. Here are some services that are provided by the urgent care center;


It covers vaccination of seasonal flu to regional vaccines. Regional-specific vaccines are for those who are planning an international trip. And for a common flu shot, you don’t need to schedule a special appointment.

Non-life threatening illness:

If you are having a mild cold and fever, then your neighborhood physician is the best place to go and get treated. But if you are not sure about the condition and your illness is not scary and your family or neighborhood physician is not available then you should urgent care centers.

Minor physical injuries:

The thumb role is to visit your local walk-in clinic if your injury is not life threatening such as minor burns, sprains, small fractures, and lacerations. If a walk-in clinic is closed or if it’s too late at night, urgent care centers are the best option because they have trained their medical staff in treating emergency medicines and other conditions.

School and sports physicals:

Wellness visits are important same as emergency medical care. Walk-in clinics allow their patients to make an appointment in advance and give fitness exams to younger and adults.

STD Testing:

It is the most important service that urgent care center can give. It often requires a lab for testing STDsand STIs.

Fact about urgent care centers.(2)

  1. In the United States, there are almost 9,000 urgent care centers that are giving their services according to the Association of America.
  2. According to a survey, 75% of urgent care centers are in suburban areas. While 15% are in urban areas and only 10% in rural areas.
  3. According to NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR AMBULATORY CARE, half of the urgent centers are free-standing buildings, and others are mostly in the retail shop.
  4. 61% of urgent care centers are in operation for more than five years. 15% are in operation for three years.
  5. About 85% of urgent care centers are open seven days of the week and about 95% closes after seven p.m
  6. According to the survey in 2012, about 357 patients visits urgent care center per week, that means an average of 160 million patients is treated at urgent care centers annually. This shows that about eighty-five percent of patients have increased specifically in the number of visits.
  7. 69% of urgent care centers have 20 minutes of wait time. Twenty-eight percent of urgent care centers have a wait time of 21 to 40 minutes. Three percent of centers have a wait time of more than forty minutes.
  8. The common diagnosis given in urgent care centers was a condition or upper respiratory symptoms and the most common procedure given was the repair of wound according to the survey in 2012.
  9. Less than four percent of patients were referred to the emergency room.
  10. Investment of $75,000 is needed to open a center with equipment of X-ray machine and other essentials needed.
  11. According to NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR AMBULATORY CARE, about 95 percent of urgent care centers have the privilege of hospital admission.

Urgent care centers near me (U.S)

According to analysis, about 1,470 Urgent care centers are in Unites states here are some top urgent care centers in the United States.

Concentra urgent care:

They provide services of occupational health, drug screening, injury therapy, and physicals. They also provide compensation for workers in all its locations.

MedExpress Urgent Care:

They give the services of immediate wali in treatment for any injury or illness. They have more than 250 centers in working.



  1. https://www.mountsinai.org/locations/urgent-care/what-is-urgent-care
  2. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/lists/25-things-to-know-about-urgent-care.html