NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- Earlier this year, Mercy Hospital in Northwest Arkansas announced it wanted to open 30 new urgent care centers across the Midwest over a two year period.
The clinics are making it easier on emergency room physicians across the area. Dr. Davis Duong is an emergency room doctor in Fayetteville and said E.R. physicians are seeing a decrease in patients thanks to the opening of urgent care clinics.
"We are seeing a big difference I would say, especially with our older population," he said.
The urgent care clinics offer an alternative to the hospital. Dr. Duong said it is important to realize when a trip to the E.R. is necessary.
"If you feel like you're having any type of life or limb threatening injuries or illness," he said.
Urgent care clinics have the ability to treat minor medical ailments and save doctors and patients time. Unlike emergency rooms, urgent care clinics treat patients on a first-come, first-serve basis.
"In the emergency room, you have to understand that they are seeing true emergencies and when you get a true emergency, if you come in with just a sniffly nose or a sore throat you’re going to get bumped down the line," urgent care clinic Dr. Bearden said.
Doctors told 5NEWS that population growth in Northwest Arkansas is driving the need for these urgent care clinics.