When Should You Visit an Urgent Care Clinic Instead of an Emergency Room

When you experience a sharp stabbing pain on your chest, you’re less likely to make a quick and sound decision on where to go for medical care. You may wonder whether it’s ideal to go to an emergency room or an urgent care clinic. It’s often not an easy decision to make. Moreover, if your choice isn’t well made, then you may end up making the wrong decision.

This post reveals some of the factors that you should consider when deciding to visit either of the two health facilities.

Type of Medical Condition

Urgent care centers provide convenient family medicine for conditions that don’t need immediate life-saving therapeutic interventions. If your sickness doesn’t affect your entire body, then it’s ideal to go for some urgent care. But if you’re experiencing some shortness of breath and severe chest pain, then you should seek emergency care.

If your entire body is sick and you’re sweating, vomiting, and feverish, then you should skip the wait and visit an emergency care room. Urgent care clinics are ideal for non-emergency conditions because of their excellent convenience and flexible visiting hours.

Here are Conditions That You Can Treat in an Urgent Care Clinic

  • Dehydration and diarrhea
  • Colds and fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Minor cuts and mild asthmatic attacks
  • Simple bone fractures, dislocations, and muscle strains

For the following conditions, then you should visit an ER room

  • Strokes and heart attacks
  • Anaphylaxis and sepsis
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Chest pain, left jaw pain, left arm pain, and shortness of breath
  • Seizures, serious burns, and serious cuts
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Loss of consciousness and mental confusion
  • Multiple injuries and stroke symptoms
  • Bleeding during pregnancy

Skip the Wait and Visit an Urgent Care Room for Fast Service

In a 2016 benchmarking report made by the Urgent Care Association of the U.S., 92% of urgent care centers in the country had wait times of less than 30 minutes on average in 2015. If you’re on a busy schedule, then you should skip the wait and visit an urgent care clinic for family medicine because it has the shortest waiting times.

These clinics may not have many practitioners, but the low acuity of the conditions presented in such clinics allows more patients to get treatment within a short time.

Your wait time in an emergency room may take a long or short time, depending on the severity of your condition. Triage nurses in an ER evaluate patients that visit an ER and make a priority list that determines who gets treated first. The priority groups include patients that need immediate, emergent, urgent, semi-urgent, or non-urgent care. The treatment gets offered in this descending order of priority.

How Much Are You Able to Pay?

If you have a non-emergency condition and less money to spend, skip the wait in the ER and visit an urgent care clinic instead of visiting the ER. Emergency room care is often more expensive for family medicine than urgent care because it’s for medical cases of high severity.

Will You Need to Get Admitted?

If your health condition needs some admission, then you will have to consider another option after getting an ER or urgent clinic treatment. Urgent care clinics and emergency rooms don’t provide patient admission.

Do You Want to Avoid Claim Denials

Most insurance firms use patient admission as a litmus test to know if you were genuinely sick and in need of ER care. If you get admitted after getting treatment from an ER, then your insurance cover provider may waive or reduce your co-pay costs. But if you don’t get admitted, then you may have to pay the entire co-pay fee. Insurance firms often tend to discourage the use of ER for first-line medical care on non-emergency issues.

Skip the wait and visit an urgent care clinic to get medical care for your non-emergency problems. Urgent care clinics are better for family medicine because they have a short waiting time, and they open during convenient times. But if you have a severe medical condition, then you should visit an ER to get the fastest treatment possible.