Combining The Emergency Room And Urgent Care

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There are advantages and disadvantages to urgent care centers and emergency rooms alike. As is the case with many similar but different options, neither one is completely perfect, and both offer great services — but perhaps alone, neither one offers exactly what you need. For years, the two have been compared to one another. An emergency room experience, for example, has doctors on hand at all times, able to handle real emergencies and with the equipment on hand necessary to treat trauma cases. At the same time, their wait times for those who are not facing major emergencies can be long, and the expenses involved can be intimidating. Urgent care centers involve shorter wait times and cheaper care, but may not have doctors on hand at all hours and are not equipped to handle severe emergency situations. Why not have both on hand at the same time? That way, you can have the good things that you like and want from both, and skip over the issues that the two models are separately plagued with. ER and urgent care centers are changing the game by offering both the ER and urgent care clinics at the same location. Below, we’ll look into why it’s so important that patients have access to the ER and urgent care under the same roof, and how this system can work for you.

Urgent Care: A Great But Imperfect Alternative

Most of us are familiar with what to expect from the emergency room. Urgent care centers are a bit more of a mystery. The fact is that urgent care clinics offer legitimate treatments from medical professionals — often, but not always, practicing physicians. An emergency room has an extremely long wait time in most circumstances, while urgent care centers are, as the name suggests, much faster experiences. They can be described in some circumstances as removing the wait from ER care, offering skillful convenient and affordable care to those who need it most. While it depends on the severity of the situation, on average the patient-per-hour ratio for an urgent care physician is 4.5 patients for every hour. Urgent care treatments also tend to be more affordable — while the average emergency room bill is $2,039, the typical urgent care bill will be closer to $226. With that being said, urgent care clinics are often lacking in funding and fragmented, with most operators owning around three centers and lacking a dominant market presence. Another issue is that urgent care clinics can be small, with around seven exam and treatment rooms. They can’t handle the major issues that may come through the door, and thus have to refer such patients to the emergency room. How much simpler is it, then, to just have the emergency room under the same roof?

ER and Urgent Care: The Advantages Of Having Both

There are many advantages to having ER and urgent care under the same roof, for the doctors and patients alike. Say, for example, that a patient walks into an urgent care center with simple symptoms that rapidly become worse. While the patient is referred to the emergency room and an ambulance is called, precious time is wasted as urgent care centers will have limited resources with which they can treat severe symptoms. The great thing about the ER being right there is that the patient can be immediately treated, and the medical professional who cared for them at the urgent care center does not have to be concerned about their patient suffering due to slow care.

ER and Urgent Care Centers: What Can Be Treated?

Often, urgent care centers are equipped to treat issues like viruses, while at the same time giving vaccines and medication. They can also handle lacerations, often stitching wounds and diagnosing typical fractures. Where a fracture might get transferred to the emergency room would be if it was a compound fracture, for example. If a person came into the urgent care clinic with a remarkably high fever, they too could be referred to the emergency room.

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