The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly 136 million people visited emergency rooms in the United States over the past year. This number could have been greatly reduced if more people considered visiting urgent care for their emergency medical needs.
To be prepared for a crisis, you need to know when to go to urgent care and when to go to the ER. Below, we discuss the differences between urgent care vs. emergency room care and when to go to either.
What is Urgent Care?
A walk-in clinic known as an urgent care center provides treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. These facilities are set up as free-standing emergency rooms where you can receive medical attention. Different emergency facilities offer a wide range of care.
What is an Emergency Room?
An ER is a division of a hospital or medical facility. You don’t need to make an appointment, but you do need to wait until a doctor is available to assess you.
The most pressing issues are addressed first. Triage nurses will assess your pain or injury level to determine what order patients will be seen.
Why Go to an Urgent Care?
Urgent care is a fast-paced alternative to a pricey emergency room visit. When considering an urgent care vs. emergency room you should do a quick triage of the injury. If it is not clearly surgical or needs an ambulance, you will likely be better off at urgent care. These facilities offer shorter wait times, as well as more affordable and accessible care.
During a crisis, we are hardwired to call 9-1-1 or rush to the emergency room. However, if you speed over to the emergency room, you will likely be stuck with a crippling wait time. Thankfully, urgent care facilities can provide medical attention at a faster rate.
With urgent care facilities, you can monitor wait times remotely or even check in for an appointment as you are traveling to receive care. Typical ER wait times can range from 3-4 hours to be seen whereas in an urgent care setting, the wait time to be seen is far less.
Urgent cares are much less expensive than emergency room visits. The average urgent care visit costs less than $200 dollars, while a quick emergency room visit can easily cost over $1,000. With urgent cares fulfilling many people’s healthcare needs, most insurance companies offer in-network care for prominent urgent care providers.
Urgent cares are first and foremost a business, meaning they will establish new offices where there is a need and potential clientele. Therefore, Urgent Care facilities are more accessible and frequent than emergency rooms. At an urgent care facility, you can either walk-in or view wait times online.
Is the Emergency Room or Urgent Care Right for You?
Next time you have to decide between urgent care vs. emergency room, be sure you assess the injury or ailment and set your priorities straight. Contact us at Victory Med next time you need emergency medical assistance.