The U.S. healthcare industry has always been subject to change. It’s not easy to keep a rising population of about 300 million people healthy. Then you have to consider that as our society changes, our illnesses and need for treatment change, too. The industry has to reflect the changes in our society or we face dire health consequences on a larger scale.
One such emergent issue that the healthcare industry must adapt to is the number of people visiting the emergency room each day. There are more people in the country now, and those people are visiting the emergency room for more and more reasons each day.
The surge in emergency room visitations has taken its toll on the industry. A recent study showed that between 2003 and 2009, emergency room waiting times had increased 25%, or by about 12 minutes or so. Hospitals across the nation are eager to reduce wait times. In order to do so, experts estimate that the U.S. will need another 50,000 primary care physicians in operation by 2025. Without such a boon, it’s likely that emergency room wait times will stay where they are.
That’s why more and more each year, Americans are turning to urgent care facilities and other mainstream health care providers when they are in need of care. Emergency wait times are up, and combined with the fact that less than a third of primary care physicians have after-hours coverage, it’s becoming more and more feasible to bring your issue into one of these facilities.
For example, urgent care facilities usually double as STD testing centers. This sort of ailment might not be a top priority to healthcare professionals in the emergency room, but an urgent care facility will be able to assist promptly. Fast STD testing is important, and not necessarily something that your primary care doctor or local emergency room will be able to help you with if they happen to be off-hours or busy with someone who has a broken arm. These low-cost health clinics are a pride of any community for their ability to provide fast, affordable family health care.
The emergency room is probably not the best place for you if you’re looking for STD testing centers. Unless your injury is actually an emergency, don’t go there!