When urgent care clinics and emergency rooms are both available, how do you choose between them? After all, there are benefits to both, and making the final decision can be a tough one. Fortunately, this article will take a closer look at some of the distinctions between the two – and help you to make as informed of a decision as is possible in any given medical situation.
1. If you want to save money and time, go to an urgent care center.
With up to 85% of all urgent care locations now open every single day of the week, the average urgent care location can provide a viable alternative to the average emergency room more than ever before. In an urgent care clinic, waiting times tend to be lower, with more than 90% of all waiting room time average no higher than a mere half of an hour. In addition to this, well over half of all urgent care locations even boast waiting times that are typically no longer than even just 15 minutes.
In the average emergency room, however, things tend to be much different indeed. After all, the average ER wait time is up to one full hour, thanks to crowded waiting rooms and not enough doctors and beds, a problem that is being faced by emergency rooms and hospitals all throughout the country. At the local walk in urgent care clinic, however, it is not unlikely to be in, get treatment, and be sent on your way all within the span of that same one hour span of time.
2. If you could go to your regular doctor, go to an urgent care center.
If you’re dealing with a relatively minor medical concern but your doctor’s office is closed, go to an urgent care center instead of to an emergency room. For instance, food poisoning cases are very common, with up to 48 million of them in a single year. Unless you are severely dehydrated, going to an urgent care center will save you time and money alike.
You can even get minor fracture treatment at the typical urgent care center of today, as more than three quarters of all urgent care centers have the means and capability to deal with such concerns. Medical care clinics can treat fractures and ankle sprains too, of which there are up to 25,000 sustained over a mere 24 hour period here in the United States alone, let alone anywhere else in the world where such injuries are also quite common indeed. Going to an urgent care clinic instead of to an emergency room will help to save time and money alike, two things that are quite valuable indeed.
3. If it’s a medical emergency, go to your local emergency room.
While urgent care centers can certainly treat a lot, urgent care treatment cannot handle every single thing. As a matter of fact, there are number of situations that demand emergency room care as soon as one can possibly get it. A suspected stroke or heart attack is a good example of this, as such conditions can be imminently life threatening if they do not receive the proper treatment in an incredibly prompt fashion.
In addition to this, there are many other cases when ER treatment is likely the better choice than urgent care center treatment. For instance, pregnant women experiencing complications or signs of labor should always go to a hospital where they can be fully monitored. While urgent care centers can often provide a pregnancy test, they typically are not able to perform any kind of prenatal care much past this point. While urgent care centers are certainly preferable in many different ways, there are still times when having an emergency room setting is still very much ideal.
At the end of the day, the choice is ultimately up to you. For a great many people, the urgent care centers found throughout the country provide a vital source of medical care. But the presence of urgent care centers is also hugely important, as prompt and efficient emergency room treatment can actually end up saving the lives of a great many people in the United States.