Why Emergency Room Physicians Are Concerned About Urgent Care

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It’s late evening on a Friday evening, and instead of going out and turning up with your coworkers and friends, you decide to head home and get some rest because you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Talking about turn down for what. You don’t feel sick enough to make to the emergency room, however, you definitely need to be seen my someone and soon. The only problem is, your doctor’s office is closed until Monday and you can’t wait.

In these cases, it’s best to seek medical treatment at an urgent care facility. Unlike traditional primary care physician offices, urgent care facilities specialize in the evaluation and treatment of acutely occurring ailments and injuries that are not severe enough to require emergency treatment at a hospital, but yet still require medical attention.

Often times, however, the lines between advanced urgent care centers and hospital emergency rooms are blurred to the point of confusion, especially since many advanced urgent care centers have expanded the range of urgent care services offered. For example, many urgent care clinics are now equipped with x-ray machines, lab services, and in-house prescription medication dispensaries. Because these clinics can treat such a variety of maladies, patients may become confused as to where to seek the appropriate treatment for their condition.

However, urgent care is by no means a replacement for emergency medical treatment. In fact, according to an online poll conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians, 75% of emergency physician respondents were concerned that patients with serious medical treatments are seeking treatment at urgent care centers that not equipped to properly treat them. In addition, 90% said patients are rerouted to a hospital emergency department because their medical condition or injury required a level of treatment beyond what an urgent care facility could provide. More than 2,800 physicians participated in the online poll.

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