What to Know About Wait Times and Urgent Care in Mooresville, NC

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If you’ve been to a hospital or doctor’s office recently, you know that longer wait times are becoming a serious problem. In fact, in a recent study by the Center for Disease Control, emergency room wait times are shown to have increased as much as 25%, to nearly 58 minutes, just in the last ten years, and a Merritt Hawkins survey of family practices showed that there can be an average wait of nearly two or weeks when scheduling a standard doctor appointment.

As wait times have increased at traditional health care centers, the National Center for Biotechnology Information has noted in a review that the public is responding to new outlets such as urgent care centers like FastMed Urgent Care here in Mooresville, NC. According to the NCBI, over 74% of patients at urgent care centers are seen within 20 minutes, which is one of the driving forces behind the sector’s 49% growth in recent years. 

As the NCBI notes, lobby wait times and time spent waiting to schedule an appointment can be serious health care issues, and not simply a nuisance. In rural areas like Mooresville where there can be less options, and with the implementation of new Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) laws, it’s vital to understand the current health care landscape and what obstacles and solutions you might find to getting to see a doctor in a timely manner. 

What are the types of wait times?

Wait time is generally discussed in two ways. The first, usually measured in minutes or hours, is the classic situation you imagine at a doctor’s office: sitting and waiting to be seen by a nurse or doctor. The second, usually measured in days, is the amount of time until a doctor's office can schedule an appointment. Technically, wait time in the doctor’s office is the time spent sitting/waiting to see a doctor after registering in the doctor’s office or emergency room. 

Why are wait times so important for my care?

It’s obvious in an emergency situation why you would want to see a doctor as quickly as possible — no one wants to be sitting in the ER while in pain with an acute injury, and the average wait time for a broken bone in North Carolina can be over an hour in an emergency room. But there are plenty of other reasons why increases in wait times can be damaging. Longer times in the emergency room or hospital mean a general clogging of the health care system as a whole, and with appointment scheduling times taking weeks in some cases, this can force some people to look for substitutes, which can place burdens on sectors of the health care system that aren’t ready for it. Simply put, you’re more likely to die in a crowded emergency room than otherwise, according to studies

How will the ACA (Obamacare) affect wait times or appointment scheduling?

While many of the long term effects of the recent changes in health care policy in the United States are yet to be seen, there have been several predictions. As more families and individuals are added to the health care system, it will be even more important to seek out all options available for care, as the system will become increasingly saturated. Most industry leaders expect wait times, and time spent scheduling an appointment to increase. The average wait time to see a specialist is already over a month in most areas and it likely will get worse before it gets better.

How can urgent care centers help?

As the traditional health system brings on millions of new health care recipients in coming years, urgent care centers like FastMed Urgent Care in Mooresville, NC have become increasingly important for those living outside of larger cities like Charlotte who need timely and convenient care options. Urgent care centers have the lowest wait times, usually under a half hour, and most have same day appointments. As an alternative care source, urgent care centers also tend to have more advanced time-saving technology such as electronic kiosks, online wait time applications and smartphone apps that can save precious time and money.