Walk-In Urgent Care Centers: Are They Better than Emergency Rooms?

Both urgent care and emergency rooms have their benefits and challenges, though there are likely times that would be best to visit either one. So, the question exists as to when the best time to visit a center versus the best time to visit the emergency room. It is often presented that the benefits of these centers include reduced wait times, cost savings, proper treatment, and doctor referrals as needed.

Which Symptoms Require the Intensity of the Emergency Room?

Considering the fact that emergency rooms tend to life-threatening, chronic or catastrophic events first. These include heart attacks, strokes, poisoning, suicidal or homicidal emotions, severe wounds, and amputations, coughing or vomiting blood and more. These conditions and symptoms indicate the immediate loss of life or danger to society and for that reason, they are handled immediately in the ER.
One of the easiest things to determine this choice is on the basis of whether 9-1-1 has been called or would be called for the issue. This means that most likely an ambulance will take a patient to the emergency room based on the fact that the condition is presumed to be of a threat to their life.

Which Conditions are More Suited for the Immediacy of Urgent Care?

Urgent care is more likely the proper treatment for illnesses before they become life-threatening. These include conditions like the cold or flu; ear, nose and throat infections; sprains and strains; broken bones and others are at least given immediate attention in urgent care centers. This is intended to provide controlling care with referrals to either stronger treatment at the emergency room or to a physician who can provide complete, long-term treatment as needed. In this manner, these conditions at least do not sit for long periods of time and progress to a more serious or catastrophic level.
Some of the positive factors to consider when choosing a center over the ER include the following:

  • It is recorded that 85% of centers are open daily to handle medical issues.
  • Roughly 80% of centers treat fractures on site.
  • An estimated 5% to 20% of Americans suffer from the flu annually.
  • About one billion colds are diagnosed and treated in America each year.

With this immediate availability, there would be no reason for any of these issues or illnesses to reach a more damaging or life-threatening level. Additionally, this brings along the question of whether or not to call 9-1-1 for these matters that may not be handled within a suitable time frame at the ER.