There are many reasons to consider urgent care over the emergency room for treatment of minor illnesses and injuries, but speed is a major one. Most urgent care facilities process patients much more quickly than the standard emergency room since they don't tend to deal with major, time-consuming health complaints. The following tips can further help speed up your visit.
Tip #1: Check ahead
Chances are you want to limit your search to the urgent care facilities in your hospital or insurance network; otherwise, you may need to pay out of pocket for services. Many networks now offer an all-in-one app or website that allows you to do a bit of legwork ahead of time. You can check the wait times at the nearby facilities, thus giving you the opportunity to pick the one with the lowest expected wait. Some urgent care centers even let you check in ahead of time, which means your wait will be even shorter once you arrive.
Tip #2: Grab your documentation
You will need your insurance card and your identification for most facilities. Even those on your insurance or hospital network may require these documents to verify coverage. This is because most urgent care facilities require payment upfront, either via cash or through insurance details. If you aren't insured, be prepared to pay cash or credit to cover the services. You may also be able to find a care center with a sliding fee scale for the uninsured. In this case, you may need to bring pay documentation such as your last pay stub. Having this on hand can help you avoid a longer wait since the front desk staff won't need to search for information.
Tip #3: Write it down
You only get a few minutes with the doctor or physician's aid since urgent care facilities are designed for quick patient turn around. Being prepared as you walk into the exam room is key to ensuring you are thoroughly treated so that you don't have to come back and wait at urgent care again. Before arriving, take a few minutes to jot down all the important issues pertaining to your complaint – how long you've felt ill, the symptoms, anything important you were doing right before onset of symptoms, or anything else you think may pertain. It can be easy to forget something important to an accurate diagnosis otherwise, and you want to make sure you get the right treatment plan the first time.
For more information, contact an urgent care facility in your area.