Uniting Urgent Care and Emergency Care Centers


When and if you are injured, sometimes you are not sure which department to go to. Emergency department or urgent care? It can be a stressful decision that only makes the situation worse because you are worried that you will end up wasting someone’s time. Here, you will find the differences between urgent care and emergency department. The difference is in the name.

To simplify, “urgent care” is something that is urgent, but can be dealt with in a timely manner. Emergency departments are for injuries that need attention now. They cannot wait or else the situation gets worse.

Urgent Care

Urgent care centers are primarily for patients that have injured themselves that is not necessarily life threatening. If you are bleeding, even if it is not severe, chances are they will send you to the emergency department instead. On the other hand, if you sprain an ankle, wrist or anything else, you will want to visit the urgent care.

You will find that, in urgent care centers, you often have very short wait times, usually around 30 minutes. In fact, 92 percent of urgent care centers held that average in 2015, according to a report made by UCAOA. And they do not get a shortage of patients.

In the same year of 2015, urgent care centers were kept busy with 12,000 patients by the fiscal end. In other words, about three patients an hour with 32 patient visits by the day’s end. However, sometimes a patient comes in that should actually be handled by the emergency department. Surprisingly, only about three percent actually need to be redirected. That is a great track record!

Emergency Department

As for emergency departments, you can surely guess what emergency department probably deals with. These are situations that are dire. Failing to deal with the issue at hand could result in an even worse problem and possibly death. These are on-the-wire problems with swift actions.

Emergency care centers are equipped with to handle just about any dire issue tossed their way.

What About Combining Both?

Looking to combine both emergency care centers and urgent care could end up shortening the gap between the two. Imagine this: you get injured and head to urgent care. What if the problem is worse than it seems and needs the care of an emergency care center? That involves travel time, but if an emergency care center was right next door, you could be passed to better hands without risking further injury from travel.

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