LYNDHURST, N.J., Sept. 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- There's never a convenient time to get sick. But when an illness crops up on a weekend or after 5 o'clock, getting a hold of your regular doctor is sometimes impossible.
Instances like these have given rise to the growth of urgent care centers in communities across America. In fact, there are currently more than 9,000 urgent care facilities operating today, with another 700 to 800 slated to open next year.
Urgent care centers bridge the gap between hospital emergency rooms and the increasing shortage of primary care physicians. Recognizing the exploding popularity of this sector of the health care market, Vitals is launching new urgent care profiles to help consumers find relevant information for this important category of medical care facility.
Vitals is a leader in providing online tools that enable consumers to make informed decisions about the cost and quality of their medical care. The new urgent care profiles allow consumers to search for nearby facilities, read reviews, get operating hours, see average wait times and listings of services.
"It's incredible that you can find 20 places to go for a cup of coffee on a Sunday, but you can't find someone to treat your child's ear infection," said Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals. "We are committed to helping consumers access information to allow them make the best decisions for their medical care. Urgent care is just the first step in the company's broader strategy of supporting alternative care facilities, which we will be expanding to include retail clinics and surgical centers in the future."
Urgent care centers serve patients who require immediate, but non-life threatening, care. They provide medical services for minor or moderate illnesses, injuries or procedures such as X-rays and laboratory tests. Patients can walk in unscheduled and expect an average wait time of 20-minutes. That's one-third of the time reported at hospital emergency rooms. In some cities like Boston, it can take 44 days to get an appointment with a physician, while at an urgent care center, a patient can be in and out within 44 minutes. On average, urgent care facilities are also significantly less expensive than hospitals, making them an important alternative for reducing the cost of medical care.
"High quality urgent care is growing because patients are more savvy about their health care needs and increasingly realize that services can be delivered with their convenience and satisfaction in mind," says Si Frances, founder of Access Clinical Partners, a company that buys and builds urgent care networks in partnership with leading provider systems. "Health reform will fuel this further as patients become more aware that they can save up to 80 percent by avoiding an emergency room."
Vitals is launching profiles with data on 6,500 urgent care facilities and will continue to grow its database over time.
Vitals aims to make better health possible. We build tools that enable people to make informed decisions about both the quality and cost of their medical care. Through health plans, hospitals, and our leading consumer websites, Vitals helps more than 150 million people each year access information for better, more affordable care.
Learn more at Vitals.com, Visit Vitals on Facebook or connect with Vitals on Twitter.
For more information about Vitals and our new urgent care profiles, please contact Rosie Mattio firstname.lastname@example.org| (917) 583-6349