ArticlesScience & HealthWhat’s The Problem With Urgent Care?

6 months ago3 min

Urgent care locations are opening up all over the country, and while they may increase accessibility to on-demand care, they also come at a cost.  Not only are they one of the most expensive forms of healthcare, but they may result in a lower quality of care.

When you visit an urgent care, the doctor is only seeing you for a sliver of time.  They don’t have a background on your medical history.  They don’t know what medications you’re taking, and they have no idea what else is going on in your life.  They know only what symptoms you have and any information you provide them at the time of the visit.

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Some people carry a list of the medications they currently take in order to assist medical professionals, but that’s not always the case.  The physician may be doing the best they possibly can, but the quality of care they can provide is limited because they don’t have the full picture.

As a real-life example, a patient went into a MinuteClinic with a rash from exposure to poison ivy.  That MinuteClinic prescribed prednisone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation.  The same patient later went to a different urgent care to receive a live nasal spray flu vaccination while still taking the prednisone and without telling the healthcare provider about their current prescription.  The result: the patient ended up with a really bad case of the flu.  Why?  Because a side-effect of taking prednisone is a weakened immune system and the live flu vaccine relies on a normally functioning immune system to help the body build up its defense against the virus.  Rather than fighting the virus and building up an immunity, the patient contracted the full-blown flu.

If it’s not something truly urgent or an emergency, it’s always a good idea to check with your primary care physician for a treatment recommendation that takes your overall medical history and personal situation into account.

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