What Is The Difference Between the Emergency Room and Urgent Care?
It’s a situation many of us have found ourselves in: You get hurt or you’re feeling sick and you need medical attention, but the question many people don’t know the answer to is whether they should go to their local urgent care center or emergency room. Despite the fact that many Americans don’t know the difference between these two treatment centers, there are a few major differences that everyone should know.
Urgent care centers are the right place to go if someone is dealing with a non-emergency situation like a minor illness or injury. While an ER can treat these minor situations, it may still be better to go to urgent care because it’s a lot faster (usually less than thirty minutes to wait) and can be significantly cheaper than the ER.
Emergency Rooms are designed for emergency situations (hence the name). This can include life-threatening injuries or situations like a heart attack or stroke. ER’s are also where a patient is usually taken in an ambulance, not an urgent care center.
What is the best way to tell if I need the Emergency Room or Urgent Care?
If you really need to see a physician immediately, you may need to go to the emergency room. You can get all your medical care at the ER, including X-rays, CAT scans, treatment for broken bones, and drug and alcohol testing. You could be in and out of the ER in a few hours, and you may not be able to get these kinds of tests done at urgent care centers. They can perform bloodwork or blood pressure checks, and general diagnostic exams. Urgent Care centers can also prescribe treatments and medications.
It may seem like the difference between these two medical centers is trivial, lack of awareness on this topic costs a significant amount of money. A statistic from Experity states that if everyone was aware of the difference between urgent care centers and the ER, Americans could save $4.4 billion annually.