Urgent care facilities fill an important need: they provide you with prompt, comprehensive care when seeing your primary care physician isn’t an option. Falling in a category in-between a primary care doctor and the emergency room (ER), urgent care facilities treat important health problems – right away.
Given the fact that urgent care facilities offer a wide range of services, and have extended hours, there’s a lot going on behind the calm smile at the reception desk. Learning about what goes on “behind the scenes” at an urgent care provides an inside look into one of the fastest growing types of treatments centers today.
Who works at an urgent care center?
Behind the scenes, you will find the same trained and licensed medical staff as you would at your primary care doctor or emergency room. Many physicians also are certified in internal medicine and have experience in orthopedic injuries and treatment – a huge plus considering many urgent healthcare needs are orthopedic in nature. In addition, trained medical staff members, including phlebotomists and x-ray technicians, offer services beyond what a typical doctor’s office can offer.
What types of illnesses do urgent care centers typically treat?
Most health emergencies or flare-ups can be treated at an urgent care center, and the staff is trained to care for people at any age – infants through the elderly. Although every day is different, urgent care centers often see patients who present symptoms for:
- Earaches and sinus infections
- Sore throat and strep throat
- Minor cuts or injury
- Insect bites or stings
- Nebulizer treatments for asthma attacks
- IV fluids for dehydration
- Foreign body removal for eyes, ears, nose and soft tissue
Also, many urgent care centers are trained to deal with concussions and sports-related injuries such as fractures, sprains and strains.
Diagnostic Testing That Can Be Performed At an Urgent Care Center
Often, tests are needed to confirm a suspected diagnosis. Urgent care centers have the ability to perform and analyze a number of diagnostic tests more than many doctor’s offices.
· X-rays: Behind the scenes at an urgent care clinic there are x-ray machines and technicians who will help you get the tests you need. These imaging tests are especially important if you have injured yourself and your doctor needs to make sure there are no broken bones.
· Blood Tests: Many conditions require blood tests to make a diagnosis or to rule out certain illnesses. Behind the scenes of your urgent care centers are trained specialists (phlebotomists) who can draw blood samples. In addition, urgent care centers can perform blood analyses from these samples, including complete blood counts (CBC) and other specialized tests.
· Urine tests (urinalysis): Urine samples are taken when certain types of medical conditions are suspected. For example, urinalysis is needed to diagnose urinary tract infections, or to detect certain types of kidney problems. Pregnancy testing also can be done with urinalysis as can drug screening. Again, these lab tests can be done behind the scenes, at an urgent care center.
· Electronic cardiogram (EKG): EKGs plot out your heartbeat, in detail. Certain non-emergency circumstances call for an EKG test. For example, you may need to get an EKG before having surgery. Urgent care centers are convenient and quick good options for this type of heart health test.
For the Record
Whether your child is heading for camp, you are going to join that dodgeball league at work, volunteer organizations, school teams, extracurricular activities and high-adventure outings require that participants have a recent physical and up-to-date vaccines. Behind the scenes at an urgent care center, you will find people undergoing physical exams and getting the vaccines they need to participate in the activates that they love to do.
Medical workers, those in the food service industry, law enforcement and emergency medical personnel, even lifeguards and daycare providers, all require certain medical testing or preventive medicine such as vaccines before their first day on the job. Behind the scenes, many urgent care centers offer occupational medical services that protect the worker, but their co-workers as well as the people they serve in their jobs. A sample of occupational services that many urgent care centers provide include:
- Employment and DOT physicals
- Drug screening
- Independent Medical Examinations (IME)
- Vaccinations and blood tests
Many also provide evaluations and concise, prompt notes relating to workman’s compensation of work-related injuries.
Remember, though, that urgent care clinics fill a void but they are not the same as seeing your primary care doctor on a regular basis. However, one thing that you can count on at an urgent care center is that their hours are more accommodating than a primary care doctors, and the co-pay is a fraction of an ER visit.
Have an important need or concern? Come see us at Patient Care Now Urgent Care in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. We are open from 8 am – 8 pm, seven days a week. Owned and operated by board-certified emergency medicine providers, we pride ourselves in providing a seamless medical experience to our patients. Call us at (267) 202-6433 for all your urgent care needs, or use our online check-in form.