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Emergency Centers An Alternative to Traditional Hospital Emergency Room Visits

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Currently, there are approximately 20,000 physicians practicing urgent care medicine. This specialty is experiencing fast growth, and has gained recognition as an important medical field. Given the convenient care that can be provided by urgent care clinics, they are a welcome alternative to traditional hospital emergency room visits.

Many people in the United States are attuned to and rely on the 24-hour access that is provided by traditional hospital emergency departments. While emergency room visits have actually increased over the past decade, a large percentage of these patients could be treated within an urgent care facility. Milliman conducted a private study on this issue, and determined that roughly 44% to 65% of emergency room visits could have been treated in a urgent care clinic.

The RAND Corporation conducted a study in 2009 that compared the difference between visits to emergency departments and urgent care centers. The results of this study showed that between 14% and 27% of emergency department visits could have been addressed at urgent care centers. Furthermore, they found that this alternative could save approximately $4.4 billion in health costs every year.

Every year, there are roughly 110 million emergency room visits. When an individual has an issue that could be treated in an urgent care clinic, it would cost an average of $2,039.00. However, when this same individual visits an urgent care facility for their issue, it would usually cost about $226.00.

Convenient care is now available in a facility that provides both emergency and urgent care. This new hybrid model provides the same 24-hour access that is associated with a traditional hospital emergency room. In addition to having an emergency center with doctors that can address urgent medical needs, these facilities provide evaluation and treatment for a variety of health issues and conditions. Furthermore, since an emergency center has advanced diagnostic and laboratory services, it is even more convenient because patients don’t need to visit another location for this.

When someone is faced with the decision of whether or not to go to the hospital emergency room, it’s important to know that there is an option. When someone is feeling short of breath or has sustained an injury, just knowing that there are emergency-trained physicians available when needed can potentially reduce the stress associated with this situation.