Do your patients go to urgent care clinics for urologic care?

July 1, 2011

Urologists say their accessibility to their patients negates the need for urgent care centers.

"I don't know whether any of my patients go to urgent care centers, but there really is no reason for them to. Most of those places are only open the same hours our office is open, so they would just call us. If they have a severe problem after hours, they go to the emergency room, but before they do that, I would expect them to call me first.

That being said, if a patient told me they had gone to an urgent care clinic, I would ask what tests were done and what they were given.

Claus G. Roehrborn, MD
Dallas

Usually, a center will do a pretty quick analysis of urinary symptoms. Patients cite burning, frequency, and urgency, and are often put on antibiotics without a urine culture.

But I would say urgent care centers fill a need. The reason they exist is because primary care doctors can't get patients into the office.

I don't think it's terrible. If a patient tells me they went to one, I may say, 'I'm sorry we couldn't get back to you.'

With existing patients who've been on antibiotics numerous times, I'll put them on one myself if they think they have a urinary tract infection, rather than have them go to an urgent care center. I may have them check their urine with the urine dipstick. I'll try to get a new patient in, but urgent cares are pretty innocuous.

I just think people waste their time there."

Christopher Walsh, MD
Brookfield, WI

"I'm sure some do, but it would be pretty unusual except maybe on the weekend or if they couldn't get in to see me or my partners.

We do have patients who go to medicenters that are staffed by a stable group of doctors. We have a mixture of medicenters in our areas, with some being appointment-based and others being walk-in-based. They recognize common urologic problems.

Patients can generally get ahold of us; we even have Saturday morning hours, but hospital emergency rooms here have very long waits. If the patient is really desperate because they have a major problem and they can't reach us, the center is better than nothing."

Charles Rilli, MD
Bloomfield, NJ