Urgent Care or ER Center Which One Do I Go To

In case of an emergency, what is the best possible place to seek medical attention? Assuming your doctor is unavailable, which is the most appropriate place to seek emergency care? Should you go to a standalone emergency room, a hospital emergency room or an urgent care center? Where are you likely to receive better and quicker medical attention?

Thanks to development in Texas the number of emergency centers and medical facilities are increasing by day. The need for better and more convenient medical services closer to people has prompted medical service provides to bring their services closer home to where people can access them easily. This means that there are more freestanding emergency rooms and urgent care centers in Texas which you can visit during an emergency. Unlike in the past when the hospital’s emergency room was the only option when tragedy struck, standalone emergency rooms have become a more accessible and easier solution for residents of Texas.

Although people see these emergency rooms and urgent care centers mushrooming at every corner, very few are actually able to tell the difference between the two. Not many are therefore able to easily determine the most suitable resort in case of an emergency. We therefore want to highlight the major differences between the two and list the services which each is best suited for, to help you determine the facility that you should look to visit the next time you have an emergency;

Difference between urgent care and freestanding emergency rooms

Complexity of medical conditions handled

Freestanding emergency centers are emergency rooms which are physically separated from the hospital and can be hospital owned or run by an individual owner. They are able to treat most forms of diseases and emergencies and are just as equipped as hospital emergency rooms. Urgent care facilities on the other treat minor medical conditions and are not well-equipped. Urgent medical facilities treat emergencies like sinus infections, minor wounds and fever while standalone emergency rooms handle almost all types of medical conditions and emergencies. These diseases and emergencies include; deep wounds, chest pains, shortness of breath, headaches and migraines, head injuries, heart attacks, incessant vomiting, abdominal pain, serious impact from a fall and many other conditions.

Type of medical practitioners present

Urgent care centers are staffed with nurse practitioners and primary care doctors that can only perform basic lab tests and provide simple medications. Freestanding emergency rooms on the other hand provide the care of board certified emergency room doctors with full labs and complex work-ups for things like liver function and kidney function. The medical practitioners here are qualified to handle all the medical conditions reported to them. Just like a hospital ER, they can provide IV treatment when necessary and monitor you for up to 23 hours before discharge or hospitalization.

Number of hours waited

Urgent care facilities have longer hours than doctor’s offices but they typically aren’t open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week like an emergency room centers. Depending on the availability of the medical staff, they can be open until midday while some can run deep into the night. A good number of urgent centers are however closed at 5pm like doctor’s offices. Standalone emergency rooms on the other hand, are open for 24 hours a day 365 days a year including holidays and weekends. The staff members work in shifts here and at no time will you not get someone to attend to you. Whether it is very early in the morning or late into the night, they are always there waiting for you.

Equipment available

Most urgent care facilities are not well equipped with the facilities and equipment needed for complex medical procedures. This means that they just operate using the basic equipment and will not perform any complicated procedures like surgeries or even imaging or scanning. Freestanding emergency rooms on the other hand are equipped just like hospitals and are capable of performing even the most complex of procedures right there on the spot. They have the facilities required for basic surgery, they have well equipped labs, they can scan patients using X-rays and CT scans, Ultrasound and some even have MRI units. This means that whatever form of care that you need, you will most likely get it in the emergency room.

So the next time you have an emergency and are not sure of the best place to head for, then don’t think twice about going straight to the standalone emergency room. You will be saving yourself a lot of time and effort because opting for an urgent care can result in you getting a referral to another facility for treatment which the urgent care center does not offer. Emergency rooms offer quality and efficient medical services and the convenience of the residents and deserve to be given priority therefore.