After-hours medical care can be a critical part of your health and well-being. Whether you have to be at work at 6 a.m. or your child has an illness that requires emergency treatment, after-hours medical care can help get you back on track with your responsibilities and obligations.
So, what is after-hours medical care? How does it differ from emergency care service? After-hours medical services are provided by doctors and nurses who work outside of the typical office hours and have flexible schedules, typically during evenings and weekends. It is also known as urgent care, acute care, or ready care. It is designed to provide medical care for acute illnesses like sore throats, fever, or ear infections.
After-hours medical care includes:
- Emergency room visits
- Urgent care centers
- Walk-in clinics and urgent care centers (UCCs)
- Laboratories and diagnostic imaging services (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs)
- Pharmacies and other retail pharmacies without any patient interaction (walk-in pharmacies)
On the other hand, emergency care is a hospital service that tackles more serious impairment of health. Unlike after-hours medical care, emergency care requires patients to come to the hospital to access the emergency care unit and get immediate medical attention. It is more suitable for illnesses and diseases that require instant attention for patients to survive or recover. Patients with good access to health care have higher chances of getting admitted. There are a few benefits that after-hours hospitals should know about such as the following.
Why After-Hours Medical Care is Key
After-hours medical care is less costly than in-patient care. After-hour medical care providers can often provide the same quality of care as an in-patient facility, but at a fraction of the cost. After-hour medical services are also more convenient and flexible, allowing patients to make appointments during their work hours and have access to doctors whenever they need them.
Variety of Treatment Options
After-hour medical care provides more options for after-hour medical care as well. After-hour medical care offers services such as wound care, physical therapy, and orthopedic surgery. These services can help patients recover quickly from surgeries or injuries without having to wait for their regular doctors’ appointments.
Personalized Health Care
In the after-hours, it can be difficult to find a doctor who is available, comfortable with your insurance plan, and available on short notice. After-hour medical provides more personalized care by using a walk-in clinic to take your call if you are unable to make an appointment in the office. Since urgent care clinics have lesser traffic, staff will have more time to dedicate to individual patients. You can expect highly trained professionals who will understand that every patient is different. Each professional is also obliged to take the time to evaluate your symptoms and discuss options with you or is dedicated to helping you feel better quickly and will treat you with kindness and respect.
Less Waiting Time
Although hospitals do their best to offer spectacular healthcare and emergency care services, delays in emergency rooms are inevitable. Everyone has experienced this dilemma, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak when hospitals were compelled to downsize their teams to evade the virus. Even now, having fewer doctors and nurses to tend to a number of patients flocking every hour throughout the day could cause difficulties in emergency handling. It is not uncommon for many people to tell a story about how they spent more than 12 hours in the emergency room because there are other patients who are in critical condition, and require intensive care.
That is why less serious illnesses such as cough, sore throat, or fever patients can opt for after-hour medical care services. After-hour medical care is a private service that caters to patients who are sick or injured after normal business hours. It offers faster treatment times, resulting in less time spent waiting for appointments or tests to be completed.
Related article: 10 Ways for Your Practice to Reduce Waiting Times for Patients.
Less Need for Hospitalization
Hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed, and that means doctors and nurses often have to work overtime. But what if your situation is urgent? Or what if you’re sick but don’t have time to wait around at the hospital? What if there’s something wrong with your child, but it’s a medical emergency and the hospital is too busy?
Medical emergencies are one of the reasons why people end up in hospitals. However, if you need urgent care, an after-care medical service can be a great solution, especially for minor injuries and illnesses like headaches, backaches, fever, sprains, strains, and mild effects of vaccination.
Comfort & Convenience
Going to private clinics for after-hours medical care is more convenient than rushing into the hospital for emergencies. Unless for very serious situations, after-hours medical service can provide relief and care for health issues that require immediate care. Since it is usually accessible even in the evening, on weekends, and on holidays it is very convenient for patients. Medical staff can still take blood samples and do some tests to diagnose your condition and prescribe medication thereafter. A nurse can also stay with you overnight if it is necessary.
An after-hour medical service is a great way for medical professionals to make their service more accessible to patients. It helps lessen the traffic in emergency care units and allows patients to have more options in case they feel something bad in their bodies.
Related article: How to Fix Patients’ #1 Complaint: When They Can’t Get in Contact with the Doctor.
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