Lab Testing and Urgent Care Center Visits for the Flu
You can feel the beginnings of an illness coming on: the telltale sore throat, congestion, fever, and fatigue, or maybe you’re just not feeling like yourself. But is this the common cold, the flu, strep throat, a sinus infection, or something else entirely?
The only way to know for certain is with lab testing…but your primary care doctor isn’t able to fit you in for a few more days, and you would really like to nip this in the bud before your symptoms worsen. So, what are your options for seeking medical assistance?
More and more frequently, patients in need of lab work and blood tests are turning to their local urgent cares. These walk-in clinics offer medical attention for patients who need answers to their health questions and concerns now, but whose symptoms aren’t severe enough for an ER visit.
Urgent care centers are able to diagnose and treat a wide variety of health issues, and offer many of the same tests as your primary care physician and the emergency room. These may include:
- Flu and rapid flu tests
- Strep tests
- Mononucleosis tests
- STD tests
- Pregnancy tests
- Basic and comprehensive metabolic panels
- Complete blood counts
- PULS heart test
- Drug tests and screenings
The next time you need a blood or urine test, consider having your lab work completed at an urgent care center. Discover a few of the key benefits of urgent care lab testing below:
[Related: Lab Testing FAQs for Patients]
Shorter Wait Time
When you get sick, you want to begin treating your illness right away—and that can’t happen until you have an accurate diagnosis. Family doctors often don’t have same-day appointment availability, and emergency rooms are notorious for long wait times.
Urgent care centers are able to accommodate walk-ins, meaning there is no need to schedule an appointment in advance. Simply show up, sign in, and receive the medical attention you require. Additionally, time spent in the waiting room tends to be far less for urgent care centers compared to emergency rooms, as many urgent cares offer online check-in.
By having your blood work completed at an urgent care center, you can get the lab testing you need completed today.
Many primary care physicians operate on a standard 9 to 5, Monday through Friday schedule. Urgent cares, on the other hand, often have extended hours past 5pm on weekdays, and are open on weekends as well. This is much more convenient for office workers, parents, and anyone with a busy weekday schedule.
Additionally, there’s no need to drive all the way to your local hospital or medical complex. There is likely an urgent care in or near your neighborhood, as they are often located off main roads or in retail shopping complexes.
Because emergency rooms are known for their high costs, many patients assume that urgent cares are equally expensive. Fortunately, this is not the case! Typically, the cost of treatment at an urgent care center is roughly comparable to that of a primary care provider.
Many insurance companies cover urgent care visits, though the exact amount of coverage will depend on your provider and plan. Before scheduling your lab tests, it’s a smart idea to confirm which specific centers are within your insurance network.
Because of their convenience, flexibility, and efficiency, urgent care centers are quickly becoming the go-to resource for patients in need of blood tests and other lab work. The next time you need lab work completed, consider saving yourself time and hassle by having your tests completed at an urgent care center.