- Urgent care facilities across the country see nearly three million patient visits per year, necessitating extended operating hours to accommodate medical emergencies that occur outside of typical office hours.
- On average, urgent care centers see around 350 patients weekly, treating a variety of conditions from broken bones and wounds to flu symptoms and fevers.
- Most urgent care centers operate seven days a week, typically opening as early as 7:00 a.m. and closing as late as 9:00 p.m., with some facilities offering extended hours until midnight on certain days.
- The best time to visit an urgent care depends on the severity of the condition and patient volume at the time. Over 50% of patients wait 15 minutes or less, with an average wait time of 15-45 minutes nationwide. Peak times often include early morning, noon, and between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.
- While urgent care centers do offer emergency aid, patients with severe trauma should consider visiting an emergency room. For minor illnesses, it's best to plan a visit during non-peak times if the facility offers extended hours.
With nearly three million patient visits per year, urgent care facilities across the country do employ extended hours. These hours, however, do vary by facility.
The Need For Extended Hours
On average, almost 350 patients visit urgent care facilities per week. With the conditions they treat – ranging from broken bones to flesh wounds to flu symptoms and fevers – urgent cares need to be available when primary care physicians are not because we all know these types of injuries and illnesses never occur at convenient times or places.
Hours of Operation
Most urgent care centers are open seven days a week. Typically, a walk-in clinic will begin servicing patients as early as 7:00 a.m. and stay open for patient care until as late as 9:00 p.m. There are exceptions depending on the facility, but this would be considered the average. Those needing emergency care may find some clinics open as late as midnight or offer extended hours on dedicated days throughout the week. It's best to call centers and obtain a list of their general hours and extended hours to ensure the clinic is open.
Best Time to Visit an Urgent Care
Arrival and waiting times vary depending upon when patients choose to visit walk-in clinics. Over 50 percent of urgent care patients waiting 15 min or less and a nationwide average wait time between 15-45 minutes. Early morning and the noon hour are both times when clinics experience the most visitors with additional influx occurring between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., just after typical medical offices close.
Depending on the severity of the patient, some triage and patient care priority is implemented for optimal care. This means patients who aren't severely ill may not be seen first. If the urgent care facility offers extended hours, for minor illness, it's best to plan a visit during non-peak times. Finally, urgent care centers do offer emergency aid so it's essential those experiencing severe trauma visit the clinic as soon as possible. However, you may want to consider a trip to the emergency room.
Frequently asked questions
How many patient visits do urgent care facilities receive per year on average?Urgent care facilities receive nearly three million patient visits per year on average.
What types of conditions do urgent care facilities typically treat?Urgent care facilities treat a range of conditions, including broken bones, flesh wounds, flu symptoms, and fevers.
What are the typical hours of operation for urgent care centers?Most urgent care centers are open seven days a week, typically beginning service as early as 7:00 a.m. and staying open until as late as 9:00 p.m. However, hours can vary by facility.
Do any urgent care clinics offer extended hours?Yes, some urgent care clinics offer extended hours, with some open as late as midnight or offering extended hours on certain days of the week.
What is the best time to visit an urgent care center?The best time to visit an urgent care center depends on the patient's condition and the center's hours. However, for minor illnesses, it's best to plan a visit during non-peak times to avoid long wait times.
What is the average wait time at an urgent care center?The average wait time at an urgent care center is between 15-45 minutes, with over 50 percent of patients waiting 15 minutes or less.
Do urgent care centers prioritize patients based on the severity of their condition?Yes, urgent care centers implement a form of triage and patient care priority, meaning patients with more severe conditions may be seen first.
Should severe trauma cases go to an urgent care center or an emergency room?While urgent care centers can provide emergency aid, those experiencing severe trauma should consider going to the emergency room.