Emergency Room or Urgent Care? Recent Poll Reveals Patient Don’t Always Choose Properly


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The most “wonderful” time of year is here, and with that hospital emergency departments experience a slew of holiday-related injuries, ranging from falls from ladders, injuries sustained while decking the halls, and food and drink related illnesses (too much eggnog or holiday punch or both). However, emergency department physicians have raised concerns that patients may not be clear when to seek medical treatment at an emergency

According to a recent poll conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), 71% of emergency physicians participating in the poll said they treat patients who go to the emergency room only after first going to an urgent care center which was not able to treat them.

Furthermore, 90% of emergency physicians said one of the main reasons patients are referred to the emergency room is due to the fact that the medical condition of patients requires a higher level of care than urgent care clinics could provide.

This is a new twist in the American healthcare debate, given that the focus has been on preventing emergency room visits. While many patients go to urgent care facilities with the hopes of saving both time and money, that loss of time can be quite dangerous depending on the nature of their medical conditions. While many urgent care centers are equipped to treat a variety of acutely occurring medical conditions, they are not substitute for emergency care.

Recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who a whopping 96% of patients triaged required medical treatment within two hours, a 4 percent increase from 2010. The percentage of patients considered non-urgent (requiring medical care within 2 to 24 hours) fell from the previous year’s report by half (8 to 4 percent).

As such, emergency room physicians are urging patients to listen to their bodies in terms of their health instead of worrying about their checkbooks. Emergency medical conditions, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and severe pain require emergency treatment.

Ger more information on this topic here.

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