When a medical problem requires immediate attention, it can be difficult to discern if it truly calls for a visit to the ER, or if an urgent care clinic will suffice. Generally, an emergency condition is something that threatens a person’s life or can potentially cause permanent impairment. On the other hand, urgent care clinics can handle medical problems that, although not emergencies, need to be treated within 24 hours. Some of the conditions treated by urgent care include:
- Broken bones
- Chronic pain
- Respiratory illnesses
- Slips and falls
- Abdominal pain
- Minor cuts
If a medical problem is life threatening, call 911 so that the patient may receive the necessary immediate care at the nearest ER. If the condition is not a true emergency, a visit to the ER can be costly and unnecessary. More than that, it can take medical care away from individuals who truly need it. Here are the other reasons you should consider an urgent care center instead of an ER:
Urgent care staff is not spread as thin, thus can offer shorter waiting times than ERs. The average ER visit is about three hours, which is two to three times longer than the average time spent at urgent care facilities. If you want to receive medical attention fast, and your condition isn’t life threatening, an urgent care facility can be right for you.
If you’re just feeling under the weather and want to know what’s wrong, then a simple diagnosis may be all you need. As long as you don’t feel you’re in immediate danger, an urgent care center can help you understand the cause of your physical condition and treat it appropriately.
A visit to an ER generally comes with a high cost. On the other hand, urgent care clinics offer a lower cost solution and accept most major insurance. For those who are uninsured, these clinics also offer an affordable self-pay option.
Next time you face a medical condition that’s not an emergency, consider visiting a nearby urgent care facility, such as U.S. HealthWorks.