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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.

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.

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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.

Wrong Lifestyles, Health Problems And Cost Of Health Care – Role Of Urgent Care Centers

3 Feb

The world is suffering from a health crisis epidemic, with obesity and sedentary lifestyles taking a toll on each and every part of the human anatomy and physiology.  While adolescents are suffering from everything from unhealthy drinks to drug related issues, their older counterparts have not grown wiser and are suffering from a host of ailments due to bad eating habits and busy lifestyles.  Excessive chemicals commonly found in drinks and foods lead to both short and long term health problems.  Today’s youth is free, wild and restless – living life on the edge without giving much thought to the long term consequences of such actions.  We adults also seem to lead our lives oblivious of the wise saying; all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and keep on burning the midnight oil to amass wealth at the cost of our precious health.  Bad lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking, drugs, and so on, are responsible for dreaded diseases like cancer, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  Eating too much and eating the wrong types of foods, accompanied with lethargy and inaction will lead to long term health problems.  After living a carefree lifestyle for a long period of time, when someone finally does come to his or her senses and wants to make a change, they can face a long road back to recovery.

To fix what is wrong – a difficult task

There is a saying in life that the only constant is change.  Friends, places and things are all changing.  People who someone once least expected to meet in life can easily become well respected and even great friends.  A meaningful new experience can turn a distrust of religion into a cherished part of one’s life.  The same may happen for hospitals, doctors and nurses as well.  Instead of living a lonely and secluded life, someone may find themselves amongst people and in crowded places.  Whereas he may have previously loved instant and immediate gratification, he is now ready to put in the work necessary to achieve long lasting results. Unfortunately, due to his past indiscipline and unsystematic life, it can be difficult to respond positively to the medicines and treatments needed to turn his life around.

Hospital bills are taxing

However, above all it is the hospital bills which put him in the most difficult position.  Such people often lack insurance plans to cover the cost of their treatments. On the other hand, the American healthcare reforms don’t appear to have any tangible solution for these kinds of people either.  Records show that there is a sizable population which is without any sort of insurance coverage.  In view of the exorbitant costs of treatment in emergency rooms, primary care doctors or any other medical center for that matter, many go without any treatment.  To compound matters, the rising costs of health care can lead to unpaid bills, affecting credit scores and financial reports.  And bad credit scores in turn affect every segment of one’s life, especially the ability to get favorable rates on mortgages and loans, career, rent, insurance, bills and what not.

A good alternative – An Urgent Care Center

Nevertheless, if one has a choice to make among the various alternative healthcare services available in this country while taking into account both cost and quality, he will certainly choose to visit one of the many urgent care centers.  There are several good reasons for this decision.  There is no better option than an urgent care center when looking for after-hours care.  If you evaluate the cost of treatment in an urgent care center, you will find them more in line with your budget and more affordable than an ER.  With thousands of facilities around the country, urgent care centers are ideally and conveniently located to a vast majority of the population, usually in close proximity to their homes.  Also known as walk in clinics, there are shorter wait times with fewer crowds and, therefore, quick treatment is given.  It is possible to get the care you need in the least time possible at a relatively low cost.  Board certified doctors accompanied by their courteous and supportive staff are not overworked and exhausted, but are attentive so that a patient receives the best care possible.  If you look around the emergency rooms and contrast them with the clean, aesthetic and natural environment of an urgent care center, it will be easier for you to understand why most people prefer urgent care centers to any other form of healthcare services. Hence, if you have slipped and lost your way in the course of your life and now want to regain and rejuvenate your health, an urgent care center can help you get back on the road to recovery.