Being sick is of course challenging and no good or convenient time to be sick can ever exist. Being able to go to urgent care facilities and be seen by emergency service physicians can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping yourself and your family healthy. Most people are aware of the express care vs urgent care issue but do not really understand what these services are and what they entail. In most common cases, an express care facility is designed to meet the health needs of people who need to be treated for urgent yet non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Urgent care centers are usually for more serious issues and concerns and help people who need more advanced care. Depending on how far the nearest hospital is and what your health concern is, an urgent care or express care facility may be just what you are looking for to get the care you need to feel better! Friendly medical care is available at both types of locations and you can get good care so you can start feeling better soon. Rather than sitting in the emergency room at the hospital you can get seen and get the treatments and medications needed fast and easy.
The popularity of urgent care centers as the Goldilocks model of health care boomed in 2014. Since it’s not as expensive as the emergency room and doesn’t require the wait time of seeing a primary care physician, many people find urgent care to be “just right.” The problem is that a recent poll reveals that too many people are choosing urgent care when they really ought to go to the emergency room.
According to Forbes, an alarming 71% of emergency physicians reported in a recent poll that they have treated patients who first went to an urgent care center for treatment that was not equipped to treat them.
The poll was conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). According to their findings, 90% of emergency physicians say that patients are directed to emergency care centers because they opt to go to urgent care centers even though they need a higher level of care.
Additionally, more than half of emergency physicians think that urgent care centers market themselves as alternatives to emergency care. According to one doctor, that sends a dangerous message about public health.
“Urgent care centers don’t have the same equipment and staffing as an emergency department,” Dr. Michael Gerardi, MD, President of ACEP. “They treat minor illnesses and injuries, such as sprains and minor cuts requiring stitches. They don’t have the capabilities that emergency departments do for complex diagnoses and treatments.”
According to Urgent Care Center of America data, there are about 9,000 urgent care centers in the United States. Though they do not offer emergency care, they can treat non-life-threatening injuries, prescribe medications, and offer treatment for illnesses like the flu.
Some urgent care centers also offer routine testing like drug and disease testing as well as X-ray services to diagnose bone breaks, sprains, and fractures.
Though the public perception of urgent care centers is that they are a viable alternative to emergency care, this is not always the case. There are a number of different, valuable services that urgent care centers offer, but it’s up to the patient to make the right choice for their needs.