5 Reasons A Walk-In Clinic Is A Better Option Than An Emergency Room

Walk-in clinics are designed to provide important medical care for those who are sick or injured. They are increasingly popular for people who either cannot wait for a scheduled appointment with their own medical provider or do not have an assigned medical provider. An urgent care center provides a host of benefits in one central location. Here are five reasons why going to a walk-in clinic is a better option than an emergency room when you are sick or injured.

Less Expensive

Although you will get the same service at an urgent care center that you would in an emergency room, the cost of visiting a walk-in clinic is typically much less than an emergency room. This is an excellent option for people who can't afford health insurance as well as for families with insurance plans that have high deductibles. One of the reasons why a walk-in clinic visit is less expensive than an emergency room is fewer overhead costs; hospitals are more expensive to maintain, so it drives up the cost of service.

Shorter Wait Times

At many hospitals, it may take several hours for the staff to see, diagnose and treat their patients. A walk-in clinic operates much the same way as a doctor's office; patients are examined by a physician in the order in which they arrive, whereas in an emergency room, patients are typically seen in the order of injury severity. In most situations, visits to a walk-in clinic only take an hour or two from the time you sign in to the time you walk out.  

Lab Services and X-Rays are Available

Urgent care centers offer much more than simply checking for an ear infection or the flu. Many walk-in clinics are also equipped with labs for drawing blood and/or x-ray machines to check for broken bones. Some of the services offered aren't available at a family physician's office, so you would be referred to another facility and waiting for these services at an emergency room can take hours.

Leaves Emergency Rooms for Emergencies

Utilizing walk-in clinics for sore throats, broken bones and cuts that need a few stitches means there is less crowding in emergency rooms.  This allows the hospital staff to tend to true emergencies, including life-and-death situations, unexpected surgeries and serious injuries. Choosing an urgent care center may prevent the emergency room for becoming overcrowded and allowing the hospital staff to focus on treating those in a true emergency situation.

Quickly Forwarded Medical Documents

If you visit a walk-in clinic and learn that you will need to visit your family doctor for a follow-up, an urgent care clinic will quickly forward your medical documents to your family doctor. Hospitals often work in the opposite way, requiring your family doctor to call their records office and request a copy of your information. This can take more time, which may delay any required follow-up treatment.

Both walk-in clinics and emergency rooms offer board-certified physicians that care about their patient's well-being, but a walk-in clinic, like West Ocean City Injury & Illness Center, should be your first choice for everyday injuries and emergency room should be used for life-threatening or extremely serious injuries.