The emergency room is known as the place to go when you’re in a potentially life-threatening situation. Unfortunately, many patients believe the ER is actually a one-stop shop for all sorts of maladies, from superficial scrapes to common colds. This mistaken belief can backfire, leading to everything from long waits to overcrowded waiting rooms. If you’re trying to decide whether a trip to the ER is actually necessary, you might want to read this post first. We’re discussing some of the most misguided reasons to go to the emergency room in the hopes that you’ll think twice before making the ER your go-to spot for treatment.

Why Do People Go To the ER When They Don’t Need To?

  1. They don’t have a primary physician (or they aren’t available)
    Finding a doctor you like who operates within your insurance network can be tough. After all, fewer medical school seniors selected family medicine as their specialty in 2009 compared to 2008, so you may have trouble finding doctors who are accepting new patients in your area. And if you move around a lot or are fresh out of college, you might not have a new doctor for yourself. You might even assume that the emergency room can be a good alternative to a primary care doctor. Spoiler: it’s not. You’d be far better off going to your local urgent care clinic if this is the case for you. But some people are under the impression that the ER is their only option. Not having a doctor is no excuse to go to the ER for every little problem. If you’re really having problems finding a primary care physician, going to urgent care will offer more affordable prices and shorter wait times.
  2. They assume the ER will be faster
    A lot of people equate the word “emergency” with the word “fast.” And it’s certainly true that going to the ER with a medical emergency will typically provide you with quick treatment. But if one of your reasons to go to the emergency room is that you think you’ll be seen faster than at a doctor’s office or urgent care facility, you’ll probably be disappointed. When you go to the ER with a non-emergency, you’ll end up waiting around for a considerable amount of time. You won’t be given top priority (that’s reserved for people in life-or-death situations). If it’s fast medical treatment you’re after, an urgent care center is the far better option.
  3. They Google their symptoms and assume the worst
    In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to self-diagnose. While online resources can provide you with valuable information, they can also make you believe that you’ve contracted a rare, life-threatening illness when all you’ve got is a head cold. If you turn to WebMD every time you sneeze or get a headache, you might g to the ER much more frequently than necessary. The reality is that not everything is a medical emergency. If one of your reasons to go to the emergency room is that “the internet said so,” you might want to regroup. You shouldn’t ignore your instincts, by any means, but you should use your (and your doctor’s) best judgment.

There are many reasons to go to the emergency room, many of which are entirely valid. But for a non-medical emergency, an urgent care center is your best bet. If you opt for emergency room visits instead, you could end up waiting around for far longer and will likely contribute to ER overcrowding. Of course, going to a facility that has both an ER and an urgent care center will eliminate confusion and make it easy for you to receive the treatment you need — whether it’s a true emergency or you simply need quick care. For more information, contact us today.