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What is Urgent Care Medicine and When Should You Use it?

Urgent CareUrgent care medicine is a specialty that focuses on providing patients with convenient and affordable treatment for their non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. All across the country, urgent care centers are bridging the gap between primary and emergency care, providing patients with access to high quality, physician-led treatment when the need arises. These medical centers are a particularly sensible alternative for patients who are struggling to make a last-minute appointment with a primary care physician or don’t wish to waste time and money visiting an emergency room when it’s not an emergency.

Urgent care medicine is a fast-growing field and today urgent care centers actually outnumber emergency departments in the United States. These centers vary from office to office, but many are equipped to diagnose a number of different maladies and are staffed by medical professionals who can interpret tests, conduct examinations, and recommend treatment plans. Furthermore, urgent care centers tend to maintain more convenient business hours than primary care physicians, with many open at night and on the weekend. Most urgent care centers also don’t require an appointment and have short wait times, allowing the patient to get in and get out quickly.

Here are a few examples of the types of conditions that are often addressed by urgent care medicine professionals:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Colds and flus
  • Ear and eye infections
  • Fevers
  • Laryngitis
  • Sinus infections
  • Sore throats
  • Strep throat
  • Back and neck pain
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Minor burns
  • Sports injuries

While urgent care medicine is a great option for patients who need immediate treatment for minor health issues, it is important to understand that urgent care centers are not a replacement for the emergency room in emergency situations.

The American Board of Physician Specialties, through the Board of Certification in Urgent Care Medicine, recognize the unique role that urgent care medicine plays in the American healthcare system, which is why we are proud to provide qualified physicians with substantial experience in urgent care medicine the opportunity to become board certified in their area of expertise. To learn more about urgent care medicine and our board certification eligibility requirements, contact us today. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.