Let’s face it: checking into the nearest emergency room is no one’s cup of tea. Choosing to visit a cold and crowded waiting room just to be poked and prodded is less than ideal, especially when you’re already sick or injured. The truth is, there is a time and place to visit the emergency room – but most times and places aren’t it.
Not every ankle twist or laceration merits a trip to the ER, and in fact, there are many reasons to avoid the emergency room altogether. When (non-life-threatening) disaster strikes, you have another option to turn to instead: your nearest urgent care facility. Stick around to learn why you should avoid the emergency room and opt for ZüpMed instead.
Long Wait Times & Crowding
Although you might expect to be treated quickly at an emergent care facility (hence, the name), most emergency rooms are crowded places with long lines and wait times. In fact, a recent study in the National Library of Medicine describes “epidemic” levels of hospital crowding that delay treatment for patients across the board.
There are a few reasons for this problem. The influx of patients in these facilities battles a waning set of resources and a needs-based triage system. For good reason, life-threatening emergencies take priority, but this means that your twisted ankle, while very painful, has to wait its turn. And more often than not, it has to wait a while.
It’s everyone’s worst fear: doctors getting it wrong. While we aren’t really talking about the kind of mishap where they remove the wrong limb on accident, getting the wrong medicine is a risk you run when you visit the ER. According to another study, crowded emergency room environments correlate with a higher risk for medicinal errors that could cause additional damage to already ill patients.
If it’s not medicine, it’s something else. It’s typical for ER doctors and nurses to run series after series of tests to find out what’s wrong. This may seem like a good idea at first. After all, you’re in there for some reason, and you’re ready to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, the more tests that are run on any patient, the likelier that patient is to get a false positive – and that’s a scare you don’t need.
All in all, doctors are absolutely trained to deal with the high-paced, high-stress comings and goings of the emergency room, but excessive crowding and testing add another level to the mix that you don’t want to risk if you don’t have to.
Risk of Getting Sick(er)
Consider the following: you walk (or run) into the emergency room. Instead of cutting the vegetables for dinner, you accidentally cut yourself (it happens to the best of us). Now you’re sitting smack-dab in the middle of the sickest place in town – the ground zero of the viral load if you will. And congratulations, you just got sneezed on.
This is the place that will make you feel better? Really?
In reality, unless you’re facing a true, life-threatening emergency, the ER is the last place you want to be because you’re more likely to catch something new in the pursuit of getting better. In fact, this study reports that emergency room visits increase infection risk by 3x for people over 65. Come in for a few stitches, leave with the flu – que sera sera.
Sure, emergency rooms are required by law to treat anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. But that doesn’t stop them from sending the bill, and anyone who has taken a trip to the ER knows that the bill isn’t cheap; CBS claims the average Tennessee ER bill adds up to $1,883 before insurance, making it the 12th most expensive state in the union for emergency care.
Even if that number doesn’t shock you, receiving a bill out of nowhere might.
Imagine it’s four months after your ER visit, and you’re going about your day when surprise: you’ve got bills. Many hospital ER systems operate by department, which means the way bills are processed differs for each lab, test, or X-ray you received when you were conked out.
The lack of payment transparency can be nerve-wracking for anyone involved with the emergency room system, and it’s yet another reason to avoid the ER at all costs (literally).
Urgent Care: The ER Alternative
In the words of Kenny Rodgers, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em – and know when to fold ‘em.” Sometimes you do need the ER – it’s just not as often as you think. When an accident happens, it’s important to take a few seconds to consider whether the emergency condition is life-threatening. If it is not, but you still require immediate attention, then the first thing you Google should be “urgent care near me.” (Better yet: “ZüpMed near me”).
Urgent care facilities provide quicker service, transparent billing, and personal care from a provider you know and trust. And just like the ER, urgent care clinics can address a wide range of emergent issues, including fevers, abdominal pain, dehydration, sprains, cuts, and many things in between.
Enjoy the ZüpMed Experience
ZüpMed’s urgent care facilities provide an excellent alternative to traditional ER waiting rooms for all your aches, scrapes, and pains. With exceptional care in a comfortable environment, our team of experts will address all your concerns in one easy location, so you can go home feeling healed and whole.
Contact us today to learn more about the ZüpMed experience.