What’s the Difference Between Urgent Care and Emergency Room?

09/11/2019
Knowing the difference between the need for urgent care and the emergency room can save you tons of money.

By sfam_photo at Shutterstock

When you’re feeling ill or you’re gravely injured, do you know where to head? Most people immediately turn to the emergency room at their local hospital. In doing so, they probably face large out-of-pocket expenses for treatments. Hospitals charge serious cash for even the simplest of visits.

Your other option is to locate an urgent care facility. Most urgent care facilities are equipped and trained to handle minor injuries. If you cut yourself while cooking, for example, an urgent care center can handle the issue just as well as an emergency room.

If you’re ever in doubt about where to go, remember the following key differences between urgent cares and emergency rooms.

Urgent Care

An urgent care facility provides healthcare services for non-life-threatening medical situations, like minor cuts, sprains, and burns. The benefits of urgent care include:

  • Comprehensive Treatment – Urgent care facilities in the area specialize in handling small emergencies and injuries. They are equipped to promptly handle all sorts of non-life-threatening situations.
  • Short Wait Times – One of the most significant benefits of an urgent care facility is its reduced wait times. Typically, the wait times at an urgent care center are much shorter than at the emergency room. Most patients wait less than 30 minutes to see a doctor. At the ER, minor injuries are treated last, which means you could spend hours waiting.
  • Cost-Effective – At emergency rooms, you’ll potentially pay thousands of dollars for treatment. At an urgent care facility, you’ll pay much less while preventing significant increases in insurance premiums.
  • Referrals – An emergency room is designed to work through patients quickly. An urgent care center has more time and is happy to educate, talk, and provide referrals for specialty or emergency care services as necessary.

Emergency Room

If your injuries are life-threatening or extremely severe, visiting an emergency room is a smart choice. They are fully-equipped to handle any level of injury or illness, including:

  • Heart attacks
  • Signs of stroke
  • Shortness of breath
  • Poisoning
  • Life- or limb-threatening injuries
  • Severe wounds or amputations
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings

If you find yourself in a life-threatening situation, call an ambulance and visit an emergency room for immediate medical attention. If the situation is painful but not life or limb-threatening, you might be better off visiting a local urgent care facility. You can find both near you in most major cities.

Here in Shirley, NY, MD 365 offers urgent care services for individuals and families seeking prompt medical treamtment, without the extra expense of a hospital or ambulance ride. Our doctors are highly trained to treat minor injuries of any kind – from cuts and burns to stings and bites.

Contact MD 365 today for comprehensive medical treatment. Feel free to walk in our office at any time during our normal business hours or schedule an appointment today!