HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Urgent Care facilities are increasing along the Grand Strand and it comes down to convenience.
At an Urgent Care facility, you can see a doctor without an appointment. Instant care is not only perfect for tourists, but for locals with busier schedules as well.
"We have a lot of locals, a lot of patients in the area, their doctors can't see them, their schedules are booked up so we see a lot of those patients when they have acute injuries or acute illnesses," said Doctor Vandergriff, Urgent Care doctor at South Strand Internists.
Majority of urgent cares are open on weekends, days most primary care doctors aren't.
Dr. Vandergriff said that volume is key in this type of health care. South Strand Internists switched to an Urgent Care practice just four months ago after 25 plus years as a primary care practice. Now doctors see up to 50 patients a day.
"Urgent Care motto is lets fix what you need today and have you follow up with somebody else," explained Doctor Vandergriff.
That might be a downside to choosing this type of health care – no provider continuity. When seeing different doctors, it brings the risk of issuing duplicate treatment to patients. But still, ten to 20 walk-ins come in daily.
South Strand Internists offers patients an option that is becoming more popular.
Doctor Vandergriff said, "I like what we call a hybrid model, we do a little of primary and urgent because on the down time, in the winter, they need those primary care patients."
While patients still have the option of getting quick care and building a relationship with the doctor, the Urgent Care portion generates a lot of money for the facility.
Since Urgent Cares started popping up in the 1990s, emergency room visits have decreased by nine percent according to the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine. Because this type of care helps remove non-emergency visits at emergency rooms, the urgent care facility trend will likely continue to grow.