Smart ER: Where and when to go?
The difference between a trip to a primary care physician or an urgent care center and the emergency room is an important one to understand. Primary care doctors are individuals who have known their patients for a long time and have a good idea about their overall health status.
When a preferred doctor is not available, urgent care centers have the flexibility of walk-in appointments and accessibility with extended hours.
The emergency room should be reserved for serious and life-threatening situations that require immediate medical attention. If a patient comes to the emergency room with a minor illness or injury, the total amount of time they spend at the emergency room could be much longer than a visit to their primary doctor or an urgent care center.
Other stipulations also come into play when determining where to go to assess a health concern. Hear Dr. George Kipa, deputy chief medical officer for Health Care Value at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, describe them to Ann Thomas on the Healthier Michigan Radio Show in the link below.
Photo credit: Sean Davis