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In-Person Visits Still Reign Supreme When it Comes to Urgent Care

April 14, 2016
urgent care clinic

The medical world is constantly advancing. It’s one of the few industries where doing so can literally mean the difference between life and death. Two things seem to be dominating the health care industry in recent years when it comes to innovation and evolution: urgent care clinics and telehealth solutions. While they both offer convenient and effective care — from medical tests to diagnosis — a new study has found some shocking results on these new fields.

According to, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco looked into some of the issues that can come up when providing virtual, or remote care for urgent-type medical issues. They found that approximately a quarter of all virtual visits resulted in a misdiagnosis or complete lack of diagnosis altogether.

“One of the more surprising findings of the study was the universally low rate of testing when it was needed,” said lead researcher Dr. Adam Schoenfeld. “We don’t know why, but it may reflect the challenges of ordering or following up on tests performed near where the patient lives but far from where the doctor is, or concern about the costs to the patient of additional testing.”

Researchers believe a lack of due diligence is a large cause of error. Overall, the doctors on the other side of the screen only followed proper procedures for thorough testing and treatment 54% of the time. Some of the patient conditions that the study looked at included sore throat, sinus infection, low back pain, and urinary tract infection — all things that can be treated at urgent care clinics.

There are over 6,8000 urgent care centers in the United States. Everyone already knows you’ll spend significantly less time waiting for them compared to traditional means (the majority of people get treated within 15 minutes). Urgent care clinics provide competent diagnoses and treat these and various other ailments, like the one billion cols Americans catch every year. However, as the study suggests, it’s probably best to come in and let our professionals take a look in-person.