Emergency centers are typically the first thing that comes to mind during a medical crisis when a doctor’s visit isn’t an option. Over 70% of emergency room visits involved preventable or non-emergency conditions from patients with consumer-sponsored insurance coverage. With the rising cost of healthcare, these types of visits are expensive as well as time-consuming. When should you go to an emergency room and when do you seek alternative forms of treatment such as an urgent care center? Here’s what you need to know about what emergency rooms do and when they can benefit you most.
Medical Condition Categories
You need to understand what category your medical condition falls under before choosing a facility to go to. Medical conditions fall under three basic categories: non-urgent, urgent but not immediately life-threatening, and immediately life-threatening. Life-threatening conditions will cause death if not treated within a few minutes or hours.
Urgent but not immediately life-threatening conditions take more time to pose a threat of death if not treated. These include conditions such as dehydration, viral infections, and severe diarrhea. Non-urgent conditions pose no death threat and will typically go away on their own either with self-treatment or no treatment at all. This category is the most commonly treated one in many emergency centers.
When To Choose An Emergency Room
You should seek treatment right away for any condition that is immediately life-threatening. This includes conditions such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, stroke, or severe bleeding. It isn’t wrong to go to an emergency room for other conditions but it will cost you more money unnecessarily. Many people without insurance go to emergency rooms because they know they will be treated no matter what. Emergency centers should be considered a last resort when no other options are available.
When To Choose An Urgent Care Center
An urgent care center is best for urgent and non-urgent conditions when your doctor’s office is closed for the day. These conditions include things like minor fractures, burns, back pain, and allergic reactions. You can also go to get blood work, lab services, and x-rays performed instead of going to the hospital. Going to an urgent care center for these needs can save you time and money and may give you more personalized care than an emergency room..
Emergency centers are critical facilities for those in need of life-saving medical treatment. Knowing when to go and when to pursue alternative forms of treatment can save you both time and money. Trust your gut and go to an emergency center when you think your condition is serious.