Differences Between ER and Urgent Care Facilities

While it’s never something you want to think about, it’s important to be prepared for life’s emergencies. Unfortunately, many people visit the wrong location for treatment of these issues. Throughout the United States, many people wonder whether to visit the emergency room or an urgent care center for medical treatment. With that in mind, here’s how to tell whether you need to visit the emergency room or an urgent care center.

Understanding the Difference Between Urgent Care and ER

To determine whether you need to visit an urgent care center or the emergency room, take a moment to figure out your symptoms. Reasons to visit the emergency room include chest pain, loss of vision, and excessive bleeding. You’ll also want to visit the emergency room if you’re experiencing symptoms of a stroke or heart attack.

If the previously mentioned conditions aren’t taking place, you’re probably able to get them taken care of at an urgent care center. Here are several common conditions treatable by visiting an urgent care location.

  • Headaches

  • Body pain

  • Fever

  • Ear infections

  • Allergies

  • Flu

  • Cold

In fact, statistics show that 97% of people visiting urgent care centers are where they need to be for treatment. Only 3% of people visiting urgent care facilities need to be sent to the emergency room for treatment.

Benefits of Visiting an Urgent Care Location

You’re probably thinking that an emergency room can treat all of the previously mentioned conditions. While this is true, visiting an emergency room for minor conditions takes away time and resources from doctors working in these facilities. In addition, there are several beneficial reasons to seek treatment at an urgent care center. Here are three major benefits of receiving treatment within an urgent care facility.

  1. Fast Treatment

    While needing medical treatment, it’s understandable to avoid long waiting room times. Considering that, you’ll definitely want to consider visiting an urgent care facility. In fact, statistics from the Urgent Care Association’s 2017 Benchmarking Report Survey found that 90% of urgent care facilities maintain wait times of 30 minutes or less for patients to receive care. Such a short waiting period is rare within most emergency rooms.
  2. Inexpensive Care Option

    Another benefit of urgent care facilities is paying less for medical treatment, especially when compared to visiting the emergency room. Whether you’re dealing with a unique situation or a chronic condition, you’ll save more money by having your ailments treated at an urgent facility.
  3. Staffed with Medical Professionals

    You might assume that doctors only operate out of offices or in emergency rooms. Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. Many doctors practice solely within urgent care facilities. This means you’ll receive the same level of professional care you would have in an emergency room setting.

In conclusion, it’s important to learn the difference between emergency room and urgent care facilities. While you’re dealing with a medical situation, it’s important to find the right type of care. Unless it’s a life threatening emergency, you’re probably able to have situations taken care of by doctors at urgent care facilities. One study from the Urgent Care Association found that an average urgent care center treats nearly 50 patients each day. The next time you’re dealing with a minor medical situation, avoid the emergency room and visit an urgent care facility.

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