Ten Reasons to Visit an Emergency Room Instead of an Urgent Care : Inexperienced doctors in urgent care centers
If you have a life-threatening condition and don’t want to wait for hours at your doctor’s office, it makes sense that you might visit an urgent care center. But keep in mind that physicians who work in these types of centers aren’t necessarily more experienced than your neighborhood physician—and they definitely don’t have more equipment. In fact, emergency rooms tend to be stocked with more sophisticated technology than urgent care centers, so they can help diagnose serious health problems faster and manage acute injuries better. If you don’t think your emergency is life-threatening but want medical attention right away, it’s safer and faster at most hospitals’ ERs.
And even if you’re very sick, there’s no guarantee that your nearby urgent care will see you quickly enough. When there are just too many patients and not enough time, doctors may need to admit some people while sending others elsewhere. Some urgent cares do offer evening and weekend hours, which could come in handy when your primary care doctor’s schedule is otherwise occupied. But what happens if there’s a mass casualty event or widespread public infection? At an ER, everyone gets treatment; not so at an urgent care center. The I Don’t Feel Well Survey: No one likes waiting on hold with their insurance company or sitting through 20 minutes of recorded messages before getting a real person on the phone, especially when they’re ill or injured.
According to research by IBM Watson Health, urgent care clinics typically answer calls within two rings. Although expert opinion varies widely about how long you should wait for a call back from your doctor’s office, answering calls promptly certainly helps build trust between patients and providers. Plus, it’s less stressful and far less expensive to go straight to the hospital from home if necessary rather than being told to go to urgent care first – because once you get inside, there really isn’t any turning back! The Insurance Cost Difference : One quick check online shows basic lab tests and routine x-rays cost thousands of dollars out of pocket without insurance at an urgent care center versus $50-$100 without insurance (insurance plans vary) at an ER.