Urgent Care Centers In Houston

8 Sep

“Houston, we have a problem.”  That sentence is perhaps one of the most iconic in American history, but these days, Houston has earned a new reputation as a high tech center of medical excellence.  With a population of almost 2.2 million people, Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States and the largest city in Texas.  In addition to its traditional industrial base in energy and aeronautics, including NASA, Houston is rapidly becoming a leader in the health care sector thanks to the internationally renowned Texas Medical Center.  The Texas Medical Center has the world’s largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions ranging from the MD Anderson Cancer Center to the Menninger Clinic which specializes in psychiatric treatment. Throughout Houston there are 13 hospitals, two medical schools, four nursing schools, as well as schools of dentistry, pharmacy and all other fields related to health care.  Yet one of the fastest growth areas in the Houston medical industry has been Urgent Care Centers.

The urgent care industry began in the 1970s and has since ballooned to over 10,000 clinics across the United States.  The number of urgent care centers in Houston has grown to over 100.  These clinics are highly cost effective and provide a level of care on par with primary care doctors or an emergency room in urgent medical situations.  They are an effective alternative to the traditional hospital emergency room with doctors, nurses and staff to provide care and protect the health of those patients in need. Urgent care clinics in Houston can provide emergency medications, ultrasound screenings, digital X-rays, perform simple blood, urine and drug tests, and some clinics can even perform CAT scans and advanced laboratory services. If additional follow up is needed, patients can be directed to the appropriate specialist, out-patient surgery center, or facility for advanced imaging such as MRIs or even physical-therapy.

According to the 2010 census, roughly 27.5% of all Houston residents are under the age of 18 which equates to about 575,000 people.  Common diseases like the flu and sinus infections and injuries resulting from accidents such as broken bones and sprains or burns and stings are more often found in minors.  This is due to the variety of their environments, ranging from the home to school, and the fact that kid’s play can result in injuries.  Working parents face significant challenges when it comes to treating their kids without interrupting their schooling or extracurricular schedule.  A visit to a primary care doctor will likely take several days to schedule and will require the child to miss school.  This is another area where the urgent care centers in Houston show their usefulness.  They are located throughout the city and will be able to treat patients at their convenience.  Most of these centers are privately owned but they still provide unique and quality care and are managed professionally like the public health system.

For the rest of Houstonians, accidents and disease are still significant issues and can be even more disruptive.  Therefore it becomes ever more important to understand exactly what services and treatments are provided by urgent care centers, as well as their limitations, so as to ensure proper care is received.  Some of the urgent care centers in Houston don’t provide 24 hours, 7 days a week service, but they are open after traditional working hours and on weekends.  In addition, they provide a specialized set of medical services.  For true medical emergencies, patients need to be treated at an emergency room.  ERs are fully equipped to handle all kinds of medical issues while urgent care centers specialize in non-emergency treatments.  However, for patients who do not need emergency treatment, urgent care centers are an excellent way to avoid the ER wait while still receiving high quality treatment at a reasonable cost.  It can be helpful to think of urgent care centers as providing similar services to a primary care doctor, but without the long wait for an appointment.  It is always a good idea to check with the urgent care center to verify that the treatment you need is offered and they are open at a convenient time.  In Houston, there are several online sources where you can check out the list of clinics nearby you, which services they provide as well as their hours of operation and the availability of doctors.  In medical situations, information can be vital, so coming to your local urgent care center prepared will make treatment that much smoother.

With a strong tradition of medical excellence, Houston offers its residents many quality options to receive care.  Urgent care clinics represent one of the newest additions to the Houston medical community and will continue to provide patients with quality care at an affordable price and at locations convenient to patients all across the city.

Finding An Urgent Care Center Near Me: A Guide

2 Aug

Who in this world does not want to live a healthy and disease free life? Everyone should strive towards good health because it is a fundamental requirement to leading a fulfilling and physically active life. But unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with good health. At a certain point of time, each and every one of us will suffer from some sort of health issue resulting in bodily discomfort. This is one of those certainties in life along with death and taxes; we can neither ignore nor avoid it. Minor health issues have a tendency to be a disruptive force, but people generally don’t deem them serious enough to warrant considerable concern. However, as the saying goes, you only live life once so even one wrong decision or a delay in treatment can result in serious consequences for you or your loved ones.

The knowledge that everyone experiences these minor health issues led to the arrival of urgent care centers. The primary function of these centers is to provide affordable non-emergency medical treatments in a faster, better and more reliable manner. So, when one feels discomfort or face some health issue in odd hours, the first question comes to one’s mind is “Is there any urgent care center near me”. And urgent care centers are champions in providing quick medical service in odd hours and without prior appointment. This philosophy represents one of the newest trends in health care in certain parts of the world, including the USA, where people have already started taking advantage by receiving treatment at these clinics when they have minor accidents, suffer from cuts or burns, need care for pregnancy and family planning issues, or even need x-rays. One of the reasons for the success of these centers is that they are located near patients, providing a quick and convenient way to see a certified and dedicated physician.  It is important to note however, that these urgent care centers are not like general hospitals or emergency rooms in that they don’t typically provide extended stay care or treatment for medical emergencies. However these centers do play a critical role in treating those who are injured in everyday accidents or are suffering from common medical ailments.

Article copy

While they do not provide the same type of treatment as a hospital or emergency room, an urgent care clinic can be a good substitute for primary care.  A visit to a primary care physician often requires setting an appointment, which usually aren’t available for several days, and then waiting in the lobby well past your appointment time as the doctor seems to always be running late.  An urgent care center can offer the same services and treatments, as most clinics are staffed with physicians who have received the same or better training than a primary care physician.  Things like the flu, infections, minor broken bones, and even allergies can all be treated at an urgent care clinic.  All of these health ailments may be serious but are not life threatening and receiving treatment for them at a clinic, rather than a primary care physician can save a significant amount of time.  Urgent care clinics operate on a first come first serve basis, meaning you don’t have to set an appointment, and wait times are easily calculated. Yet, the biggest attraction of these clinics may be their extended operating hours which typically include evening and weekend hours in order to provide care at those times when patients truly need it.

It is important to know about the types of services offered by urgent care clinics and how these services differ from general hospitals and other existing medical facilities. As mentioned previously, when used properly for non-life threatening medical issues, urgent care centers are an important part of the health care system, saving patients time by seeing them on a walk in basis and without long wait times.  Hospital emergency rooms will always be necessary to treat true emergencies, but become bogged down when patients visit for other routine issues.  Primary care doctors are still a great way of receiving on-going treatment for persistent issues but urgent care centers provide a great alternative in order to receive treatment for those small but annoying issues that can be dealt with quickly.  And if further treatment is necessary, the clinic can help coordinate with a primary care physician or provide a recommendation for a specialist.

 

Next time you need to evaluate where to go for care, consider carefully what type of treatment is needed, and then choose where to see a doctor.  For most issues, you can simply opt to visit one of the many urgent care clinics near you and can rest assured that you will receive quality care to help you feel better quickly.

Urgent Care Centers Help Supplement ERs And Primary Care Doctors In The Healthcare System

1 Jul

The healthcare industry has responded positively to the changing needs and requirements of fast paced Americans.  Urgent care centers, while having been around for several years, have recently increased in popularity and emerged as the perfect solution for our current lifestyles.  These walk in clinics operate beyond normal business hours and work to efficiently deal with almost all types of injuries and illnesses with the exception being life threatening medical issues.  They provide what is known as ambulatory care in an environment outside of a normal medical center, such as a hospital emergency room or primary care office.  Yet in spite of the potential for overlap given their common treatment of acute ailments, injuries and diseases, urgent care centers supplement emergency rooms and primary care offices in the healthcare system, rather than replace them.

 

In the absence of urgent care centers, emergency rooms would be significantly over crowded and their very purpose of treating and saving lives would become impossible.  The Urgent Care Association of America, which is a trade association in the United States for providers of urgent care, rightly distinguishes urgent care as care used to treat injury or illness on a walk-in basis, but not serious enough to warrant emergency room visit.  In that sense, the emergence of urgent care centers in the American healthcare system has been a natural and logical progression as they play an important role in fulfilling the gap between emergency rooms and a primary health care unit. By filling this niche, they relieve much of the burden on more traditional sources of ambulatory care.  Emergency rooms are equipped with highly specialized and highly trained staff and modern medical technology in order to treat medical emergencies. Yet, as they are often used as a method to receive treatment for less serious issues, resources that should be used for life-threatening situations are not being used efficiently.

 

As for primary care doctors, while they also specialize in the sort of non-life-threatening issues as urgent care centers, they typically have a roster of patients that is quite full, leading to long lead times in order to get an appointment for care.  In addition, these offices offer limited hours that don’t extend much beyond normal business hours.  This can make it even more difficult for a patient to find the time necessary to receive the care they need.  While conditions that require long term care and follow-up should be handled by a primary care physician who can track a patient’s progress, urgent care centers offer an alternative for those times where patients have a shorter term issue that they’d like addressed quickly.  This is especially true when a patient is traveling or wants to seek care in the evening or on a weekend.  After their visit, an urgent care center can even coordinate with their regular doctor to ensure that the appropriate records are transferred and follow-ups take place as necessary.

 

If we consider all of the important health services like hospital emergency rooms, primary health care units and urgent care centers, and their medical specialties, it becomes truly apparent that they are working in tandem to provide patients with a seamless healthcare experience.  In today’s healthcare environment, no single service in isolation can provide a comprehensive solution for all patients.  Therefore, each of these services has evolved to fulfill a unique niche in the hierarchy of the healthcare system.  With that prospective, urgent care centers should not be seen as competitors of emergency rooms or primary care doctors, but rather as a complementary and supplementary piece that strengthens the whole healthcare system.

Online Access Of Medical Services Information Makes Finding Care Easy

15 Jun

The need to see a doctor can arise at any time.  Diseases and injuries can occur without warning, whether at home or out traveling.  Particularly vulnerable are children and the aged who often fall ill when facing a change of place or climate.  For this reason, the number of people visiting hospitals and clinics goes up considerably during seasonal changes, which can create extensive wait times to see a doctor.  Therefore it becomes even more critical to completely assess where to best obtain care.  Many patients turn immediately to an emergency room for treatment, when in fact another segment of the healthcare system may provide a better solution.

Emergency rooms are designed to treat injuries or illnesses that are life threatening, and seeking care for something such as a common cold will only serve to clog the system.  An urgent care center offers many of the same services as an ER, but focuses on minor and non-life threatening urgent medical issues.  Even though they may not have the same 24/7hours as a hospital, they are typically open beyond normal business hours, allowing patients to be seen after work or on the weekends.  Urgent care facilities do not require appointments, so you can walk-in and receive the medical attention and treatment you need.  There is no worrying about being turned away or made to wait endlessly just to be seen by a doctor. And the services that are provided at an urgent care facility are much more affordable than the equivalent services at an ER or a regular family physician.

 

If you are facing any minor medical issue such as a fever, earache, cough, cold, wheezing, sore throat, or a sprain you can safely opt for treatment at a reliable urgent medical care center. These centers offer quite a few excellent services starting from advance diagnostic testing to a specialist follow up.  This full range means a patient doesn’t need to wander from one facility to another for lab tests and x-rays.  Some urgent care centers even offer specialized services such as pediatrics or physical therapy. Nowadays, kidney related medical issues are on the rise.  People, especially the aged and chronic patients, are constantly in need of services like dialysis and it is well worth checking to see if an experienced Nephrologist and a dialysis facility are available in the neighborhood urgent care center in different urgent care locations. These clinics also provide preventive care and immunizations, comprehensive physical exams, treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure as well as many other forms of injuries or illnesses.  Over the years, urgent care centers have rapidly gained immense popularity in the health care industry to where there are now close to 9,000 different clinics located across the United States.

 

But, above all, finding a reliable walk-in clinic that is manned by a team of experienced and board certified doctors who are assisted by a well-trained support staff, providing a wide array of services is imperative.  A good clinic can help provide care during a difficult period in an easy and appropriate manner.  Thanks to the expansion of the internet revolution, it is significantly easier to find a reliable clinic and verify all the different services it offers.  You can go through their websites and read various testimonials of other patients, or browse a specific list of the services and treatments offered.  You can also join online discussion forums for further useful information regarding urgent care centers.  An emerging medium that is becoming quite useful in obtaining up to the minute information about urgent care centers, such as their addresses, telephones, services offered, special closing times and availability of doctors, is social media along with innumerable social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

 

The internet has changed the way we search for information.  Urgent care centers have recognized the importance of the internet and their online presence in being a customer friendly business.  Accordingly, the information about their services, location and area of operation can easily be found on the web to the benefit of all patients searching for care.

What is Urgent Care?

22 May

As an alternative to emergency rooms or even a primary care physician, urgent care centers are rapidly growing in popularity but there is often confusion as to exactly what urgent care is and what services are provided.  At their most basic, urgent care centers provide walk-in, extended hour access for acute illness and injury care that is either beyond the scope or availability of the typical primary care practice or not serious enough to warrant treatment in an ER.  They sit in the middle of the medical services spectrum between a primary care physician and an emergency room and help alleviate pressure on both by providing care for patients whose primary care doctor is not available and reserving the nation’s emergency room resources for more serious, life-threatening conditions.  Patients typically seek treatment at an urgent care center for minor injuries and illnesses like fevers, upper respiratory infections, sprains and strains, lacerations, contusions, and back pain.  Most of these centers have the resources to treat minor fractures, administer intravenous fluids, and process a few lab tests.  Each center offers slightly different services, so it’s well advised to verify with the clinic before seeking care, but all of these services and consultations are available without an appointment and most types of insurances are accepted.

For patients with minor medical issues, urgent care centers offer a great way to obtain convenient access to medical care without having to wait for hours in an emergency room, or several days to schedule an appointment at their primary care doctor.  While there is no official count, it is generally accepted that there are close to 9,000 urgent care clinics located throughout the United States.  That means for most patients, a clinic is located near them, and in large cities, there will be many different options available.  Many of these health care facilities offer their services during evening and even weekend hours as way to help patients who need to seek care outside of regular business hours.  These centers are typically staffed with physicians with a support nursing staff, or may have physician assistants as well.  Some centers have even begun focusing solely on pediatric care, offering the pediatric specialty in a walk-in setting.  However, the main reason for the popularity of urgent care centers is their cost effectiveness and affordability. urgent care 22

A recent trend in the medical industry has seen more and more investor-owned companies, private equity and other financiers move into the urgent and immediate care business.  Previously this had generally been the domain of entrepreneurial doctors who set out on their own and found the urgent care model to be an easier way to directly interact with patients than establishing their own private practice.  The shift to larger corporate entities has been a result of the pressure applied on hospitals from lawmakers, and insurance companies to treat patients in less costly outpatient care settings.  Urgent care centers can provide an equivalent high level of care, with the cost-efficiency and convenience benefits sought by all parties.  By limiting their scope of treatment to nonlife-threatening illnesses or injuries, these centers don’t need some of the most expensive equipment used by hospitals, and thus can keep costs down.  As a result, the co-pay for a visit to an urgent care clinic is usually less than a visit to an emergency room.

For all these reasons, their hours of operations, numerous locations, quality medical services and affordable costs, urgent care centers are considered to be one of the best new sources of available health care. Patients can expect a high quality of care with well qualified doctors at a center that’s located close to them while saving money and freeing up emergency resources for better use.

 

Health Care facilities In Florida: A general overview

3 May

There are a host of medical issues currently facing Florida.  Yet one issue seems to stand out among all the others and it will come as no surprise to even the most casual observer.  That issue is Florida’s aging population and it is such a large concern that we can gain a better understanding of the overall healthcare scenario in Florida by examining it.  Florida is one of the premier retirement destinations in the United States and every year, more and more seniors move to the state to enjoy their golden years in the beautiful weather and surroundings.  These seniors have led to the state having the 4th largest population of people 65 years of age or older in the US. While it is certainly nice see people living long lives, the increasing aged population continues to put a strain on the existing medical facilities.  Hospitals and all types of health care facilities are experiencing the effects of treating more seniors, suffering a rise in the a shortage of beds available to patients and lacking the medical staff to handle the rising demand, especially in areas such as critical care.  It is important for health planners and hospital management to recognize that this group represents the greatest users of hospital services according to the Healthcare Financial Management Association.  Unfortunately, records also show that Florida ranks third among all states, with the highest rate of residents without any health insurance.  With new federal regulations coming into effect, this will hopefully become a significantly less important issue, but for the moment it serves to further complicate the social and economic impact of baby boomers.

In addition to sheer numbers, the health issues of the aging and the aged are quite unique and require a different sort of treatment.  Even regular scrapes, cuts and illnesses can be more serious for seniors.  A weakened immune system may cause something like the flu to be a life threatening illness, whereas it may just cause someone younger to be bed-ridden for a short period of time.  A simple fall could result in a fracture, leaving the person helpless if they are alone.  And some of the biggest medical issues of the day seem to disproportionally affect seniors.   Alzheimer’s, which is the most talked about form of dementia, affects a large number of aged people, yet the most widespread condition affecting those 65 and older is heart disease, which includes everything from heart attacks,  to high blood pressure or even hypertension. Arthritis can make simple movement painful and osteoporosis can weaken a person’s bones, making simple injuries more serious and increasing the amount of time necessary to heal.  All of these issues can require a doctor with the expertise to make the sometimes challenging and unique diagnosis, and then the specialists necessary to treat the issues.  With the ever increasing population of aging and the aged, the healthcare system in Florida will need to find a way to tackle the big challenge of simply being ready to treat these issues in the coming years.

Fortunately for the state, today’s consumers are overall more educated, accustomed to immediate services and have the financial means to seek the best care.  These factors have led to the development of a number of excellent health care centers all over the state of Florida. Everywhere throughout the state, patients can find good hospitals, primary care doctors, walk-in or urgent care centers, and other specialists.  Well-equipped hospitals with a dedicated staff can make a big difference in the quality of care available, and thus the overall health care system in a state.  Ailing aged patients visit hospitals and urgent care centers frequently for their numerous medical issues.  The presence second tier health care facilities, such as rehabilitation and diagnostic imaging facilities can also go a long way in helping to meet the medical requirements of the aging population. It should also be noted that assisted living facilities, also called elderly care homes or nursing facilities, are proving quite vital in ensuring the health, and providing for rehabilitation, of the aged and impaired.  There are a number of state as well private nursing home care facilities which provide twenty four hour, round the clock attention.  Their skilled professional health care teams aim to provide a holistic treatment for the elderly.

Though healthcare for the aging and aged is a daunting task, a comprehensive system of hospitals, emergency rooms, primary care centers, walk-in clinics or urgent care centers in Florida, state and private organizations and agencies in Florida are all geared towards working together to provide for the health and overall well being of the elderly.  With these pieces in place, the state seems more than capable of meeting the challenges it faces in the upcoming years.

A Comparative Study Of Primary Health Care, Emergency Care And Urgent Care

27 Apr

Depending on the nature and scope of treatments offered, health care providers can be classified into one of many general categories of care.  It can often be confusing to know the difference between types of providers, so this study will set out to examine the major types of providers and offer a comparison and benefit analysis.

PRIMARY HEALTH CARE

Primary health care is often considered to be the first point of contact a patient has into the health care system when they need treatment or a checkup of their health problems.  A primary care provider may be a primary care physician, general practitioner or family physician and if the situation calls for treatment beyond their capability, they will usually coordinate that treatment with the appropriate specialist.  Sometimes people may also see a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner for their medical needs.  Given their frequent interaction with their patients, family doctors have a good understanding of their patients’ medical history, their current health and their future healthcare goals.

urgent care 25

EMERGENCY ROOMS

On the other end of the health care spectrum are emergency rooms.  They exist specifically to treat potentially life threatening emergencies. In order to accomplish that mission, they are open 24 hours a day and have all the necessary equipment, facilities, and emergency staff to address almost any medical issue. Typically they are located within a hospital complex, but recent trends have seen stand-alone ERs growing rapidly.  Patients are seen based on the severity of their injuries, which can result in extensive wait times to see a doctor if the patients’ illness or injury is not truly serious.

URGENT CARE

Urgent care sits right in between a primary care provider and an emergency room.  It is similar to emergency medicine in that it is designed to provide quick treatment to patients in need.  However, unlike emergency rooms, urgent care centers offer treatment to patients with non-life threatening injuries or illnesses.  In this way, they are similar to a primary care physician.  A patient will typically visit urgent care when they either do not have a primary care doctor, or else their discomfort is such that they do not want to wait for an appointment at their primary care doctor.  Since they are designed to fill the gap between an ER and primary care, an urgent care clinic is typically open beyond normal business hours and is open on weekends.

In order for patients to make the best choice among the options available to them, a careful comparison of the benefits and services provided by these different health care systems must be done.   It is clear that medical issues which are threatening to one’s life can only be treated most effectively and efficiently in an emergency room.  Yet for other non-life-threatening issues, there are many other important points to examine, such as cost considerations, wait times, the overall time necessary for treatment and overall convenience.

Various studies have examined the costs of treatment in different facilities for several of the most common ailments. The conclusion of those studies has been considered rather surprising.  Receiving treatment at an urgent care center is often cheaper than visiting an emergency room, or even visiting a primary care physician.  This holds true whether paying for the treatment in full or when using insurance, as the co-pay for an urgent care visit will often be lower than the co-pay for an emergency room visit.  Depending on the type of insurance, an urgent care visit may even have lower co-pay than a primary care visit.  In addition to having a higher co-pay, an emergency room visit may result in two separate charges – one from emergency room and one from the physician who treats you.  An urgent care visit will only result in one charge.

In so far as wait time and the overall time necessary for treatment in the different facilities are concerned, urgent care centers are once again considered to be the best and most preferable option for minor medical issues.  Emergency rooms treat patients with the most serious conditions first, so any patients with less urgent needs will wait longer to see a doctor.  And when considering the severe and critical nature of diseases dealt with in emergency rooms, it makes sense that the time taken for the treatment of these cases is longer. Primary care doctors typically utilize an appointment style system, which means they rarely have same day or next day availability.  Once an appointment is finally scheduled, the patient may end up facing a long wait in the lobby anyways as appointments inevitably run long and the doctor always seems to be running behind.  Urgent care centers only see patients with non-life-threatening conditions on a first-come, first-serve basis and as the patients are there to receive treatment on a specific issue, the doctors do not spend additional time addressing extraneous items.  All of these reasons help make urgent care centers increasingly popular, and convenient, for the modern patient.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.