Pros and Cons to the ER and Urgent Clinics
If you are like most of American, then you probably think that the emergency room and an urgent care unit are the same thing but this is far from true. There are quite a few differences between the two. Each have their differences that come with pros and cons. Let’s look over a few of those.
Emergency Room Advantages
- If you are having a life threatening emergency, you will be placed at the top of the list and won’t have to wait.
- If you aren’t sure where your condition should take you, the ER will take every situation, you may just have to wait a little longer if the issue turns out to be non life threatening.
- Emergency room doctors are trained to handle basically any situation that comes their way.
- They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will never turn anyone away.
Emergency Room Disadvantages
- The wait time can be hours long, depending on the severity of your situation.
- It’s not a first come, first served policy. The order depends on the nature of the condition.
- They can tend to be more expensive than urgent care clinics. They cost, on average, twice as much as a visit to urgent care.
- Emergency room doctors are extremely busy and sometimes at a high stress level and can occasionally make snap diagnoses that end up being erroneous.
Urgent Care Unit Advantages
- You can get almost anything done there, from shots to physical therapy, as long as it is non life threatening.
- They are usually walk in clinics which means you don’t have to make an appointment.
- If you do choose to make an appointment, you can and your wait time will be even shorter.
- Most urgent care units have a wait time of 15 to 20 minutes, max.
- There is always a physician or doctor working if you need to see one. Most urgent cares are owned by doctors and physicians so they take a vested interest in them.
Urgent Care Unit Disadvantages
- They do not take life threatening emergencies. If you go to an urgent care and your situation is life or death, you will be transferred to an emergency room.
- You probably will never see the same physician twice as they don’t usually have the same ones working all the time. While they always have a physician, they usually only work once or twice a month and keep a rolling rotation.
- If you do not go regularly, they will not keep a health record for you which means you will have to fill out your personal and health history every time you go.
- Urgent care clinics are often not as easy to find as an emergency room and you may not even have one near you which makes visiting it impossible.
While an urgent care will only care for certain ailments, as long as your situation is non life threatening, it is always recommended to go to an urgent care. Less cost, less wait time and equal quality of care makes the urgent care clinics just as good, if not better than an emergency room. However, if you are unsure whether your situation is life threatening or not, then it is better to be safe than sorry and go to the emergency room, explain your situation and let them help you to decide whether you should stay and be treated in the emergency room or if it is safe for you to leave and go to an urgent care walk in clinic.
If you do go to an urgent care, make sure to bring a list of any medications you take, family history and personal information so that the doctor who sees you can be fully informed of your history and your current situation. This will help him or her to make a more accurate diagnoses and decision of treatment for you. If he is forced to guess, based on the current symptoms you are experiencing, there is a slight chance the treatment prescribed will not be the correct one and you’ll be back soon after because your condition has not gone away. Make the doctor’s job easier by providing all the information that he or she will need right when you first get there. It’ll make the whole process go more smoothly.