Many people will get hurt or ill every day, and they may need medical attention. Fortunately, there are many urgent care clinics and emergency clinics alike in today’s towns and cities, and if a victim needs help, a nearby party can look up emergency care or urgent care online (if they don’t already know a clinic to go to). That person may look up “emergency care near me dallas TX” or “urgent care open near me seattle WA” and find a list of results, showing the name, address, and hours of each clinic nearby. If the victim needs help at an odd time of day, such as 3:00 AM, they helper may look for a 24 hour urgent care center or 24 hour emergency care, and take the victim there for professional treatment. It may be noted that emergency care and urgent care are quite distinct, though. What is the difference between them, and what do they entail?
Emergency Care Done Right
Emergency care clinics and the ER are best reserved for patients who are in serious, or even life-threatening, condition, and the doctors and physicians at an emergency clinic will have the right training and medicine to save a life. A patient may need this level of care, for example, if they have a broken arm or leg, or if they have sustained a wound to the head or eyeballs. A patient who suffered trauma such as a gunshot or stab wound will also need emergency care, and those injuries might be bleeding heavily. Meanwhile, chest pain and difficulty breathing also merit a trip to the ER, since such conditions may turn life-threatening at any moment, if they are not already. The ER is also the right choice for a patient who just suffered a stroke or a heart attack. And what about abdominal pain? Abdominal pain is harmless in most cases, though if that pain is sudden, severe, and/or long lasting, it requires the ER, since the underlying cause might be quite serious.
Emergency care is vital, but it is not meant to treat all medical cases. Most Americans who need medical attention can visit an urgent care center instead, which are much faster and cheaper than the ER. Visiting the ER is expensive and time consuming, and best left for patients in dire need. Though if it is not clear what level of care a victim needs, they can be taken to a hybrid medical clinic; that is, one that offers both urgent and emergency care side by side for maximum flexibility. Such clinics might appear when someone looks up emergency care or urgent care centers in their area.
On Urgent Care
Meanwhile, urgent care is a broad and highly convenient field of medical care. This industry is still growing, and since the year 2000, around 2,500 urgent care centers and walk in clinics have been built across the United States. A typical urgent care center is staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can treat a wide variety of minor medical cases, and there are often trained pharmacists on staff, too. A walk in clinic is typically a small and independent medical site, though they have been known to sometimes form small local networks with one another. An urgent care center that is running smoothly may see three patients per hour, and a guest may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes. Many of these clinics accept a wide variety of health care insurance policies, and in general, they are much faster and cheaper to visit than the ER (hence “convenient care”).
Such clinics can be found in strip malls, built into large retailers, or even built into hospitals. The nurses on staff can treat shallow cuts and wounds with stitches and bandages, and they can also provide lotion and ointment for skin rashes and sunburn. Around 80% of these clinic can also treat bone fractures, and nearly all of them can also take care of wrist or ankle sprains as well. Guests at a walk in clinic can visit the pharmacy for a prescription drug refill, and during influenza season, they can get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu. Upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit urgent care clinics.