Why Do People Visit the ER?


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When something goes wrong, it can be a stressful situation. Especially when someone is sick or hurt, figuring out where to go can be confusing. Do you visit the family care physicians, after hours urgent care, or the emergency room?

If you have never visited an emergency room except for a major broken bone, it may be confusing as to why so many choose to visit the ER. Recent news articles have highlighted the increased use of the emergency room over using a family health clinic or urgent care facilities.

Many choose to visit the emergency room (ER) for convenience reasons. Below are a few common rationales for why so many choose to visit the emergency room rather than their family care providers.

  • Cheaper care Especially for those who don?t pay when using the ER. It?s cheaper than the doctor?s office.
  • Better quality care Many believe, sometimes falsely, that there are better quality doctors at the ER than at an urgent care facility.
  • Easier to get to Often in rural areas, a local hospital with an ER can be easier to get to faster.
  • Readily available There is no need for appointments at an ER which may be easier for those crunched for time.
  • More of a break If a patient, or a patient?s family needs time off or away, the emergency room visits can offer a longer break.

So, if you?re wondering why so many turn to the emergency room over for their family health care, it is often for reasons of convince. The ER can be seen as being cheaper, easier to access, and a better quality. However, it often drives higher health care costs for everyone.

Although seeing the ER as an easier, better option may not always be the case. According to a recent study, the average wait times in ERs have increased. Between the years 2003 and 2009, the average wait time in an emergency room increased by 25%. Patients often waits an average of 58.1 minutes, which has gone up from 46.5 minutes. The visits also tend to cost more. One Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found that the average visit to the emergency room costs a total of $1,318. However, that number may be skewed by some visits costing much more than others. The mean cost of a trip to the ER is $615.

If you?re unsure whether to visit the emergency room or the regular doctor?s office, you can always call your doctor. They often have after hours instructions. Consider looking online for primary care physician reviews if you need help finding a local doctor. Often, primary care physician reviews can be a good place to start for finding good family care.

Primary care physician reviews can also be offered by friends, family, or other organizations. Be sure to ask if that particular office or system is covered by your insurance. Because of the rising need of healthcare for the aging population of the United States, more primary care physicians will be needed as will better primary care physician reviews. Current data indicates that we will need around 52,000 more primary care doctors by 2025 to meet the needs of the healthcare industry. So, try to find a doctor you can rely on now to treat your injuries and concerns.

Remember each patient and each case will vary. Often patients with deep cuts, serious head injury, broken bones that break the skin, should go to the ER. Seizures, severe chest pain, fevers, and shortness of breath should usually seek care in the emergency room. Signs and symptoms of a stroke or heart attack should call 911. However, if the symptoms are gradually appearing, or for problems like sprains, sore throats, mild asthma, rashes without a fever, or minor broken bones, a regular family doctor or urgent care facility should be able to help. For most minor issues, scheduling an appointment with your regular doctor is best.

Basically, visit urgent care when your regular doctor?s office isn?t open and you or a friend or loved one can?t wait. But, try to call first to have a doctor asses your condition. Also be prepared wherever you go with information, medications, and insurance information.

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