Situations that require medical attention don’t always require a trip to the emergency room. In addition to scheduling checkups with your doctor periodically, it is also important to stay on top of your health by creating a plan for how you will react when injuries or illnesses happen. Knowing the differences between emergency rooms and urgent care centers will help you determine where you need to go if you require medical treatment.
While emergency rooms are designed to help in life-threatening scenarios, there are nearly 130 million ER visits each year in the United States resulting in longer wait times for patients who need the most attention. In fact, of the 130 million visits, only 13.3 percent result in a patient being admitted to the hospital. Additionally, up to 27 percent of all ER visits could have been taken care of at an urgent care facility.
This is important, because when you get hurt and cannot see a doctor right away, most people think to go to the emergency room. However, there are around 9,000 urgent care centers nationwide that are open later than your primary care physician so you can be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. Other features of urgent care centers include:
- 75 percent of urgent care centers are located in suburban areas
- The average wait for a patient at an urgent care center is 15 minutes, compared to 200 minutes at an emergency room
- The average cost for services is around $200, compared to $1,200 in the ER
- You can call the center beforehand to determine if your insurance coverage will be accepted
Check out the infographic below to help you determine if an urgent care center is the right choice for your medical needs.