Will High Level Urgent Care Centers Become the New Health Care Norm?

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In the U.S. there are approximately 6,800 24 hour urgent care centers, and most of them are located within freestanding buildings. Each week, an estimated 3 million patients pass through the doors of these urgent care locations to see a variety of health care professionals, including urgent dental care providers. These patients are looking for help for a variety of health concerns, for example, upper respiratory problems, muscular sprains, gastrointestinal problems like food poisoning, fractured and broken bones, and even concussions. Somewhere around 66 out of 100 of medical urgent care centers employ a combination of MDs, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

More and more doctors are getting into the urgent medical care and urgent dental care fields. In fact, the field has become so popular that fellowship training program in urgent care medicine have been sponsored by the Urgent Care Association of America. The first of these was offered in 2006. About 65 percent of all immediate care centers have at least one doctor on site at all times. There are also urgent dental care facilities that have both doctors and dentists on site, and there has been some talk of creating urgent dental care fellowships for dentists to meet the needs of urgent dental care seekers.

The historical mission of centers for after hours urgent care centers has been to diagnose and evaluate acute, but non life threatening medical problems. However, as time goes on, urgent medical care centers and urgent dental care facilities have been providing higher level diagnostic services such as X rays, check ups, and lab tests. This is appreciated by many patients who need urgent dental care and urgent medical care.

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