The mix of options available to patients today is greater than ever before, and one of the newest options to appear on the scene is the freestanding ER. Urgent care centers have been around a little longer, but even they (in their modern form) are somewhat new.
The natural question arises as to what the similarities and differences between urgent care and free-standing ER facilities are – and when to utilize one, the other, or an entirely different option.
Freestanding ERs versus Urgent Care Centers
While there are may seem to be similarities between urgent care centers and freestanding ERs, they are completely different entities. Here are the most important features that set the two apart:
- Freestanding ERs equipped and staffed like a traditional Emergency Room. They specialize in identifying, stabilizing and treating emergent medical conditions. Urgent Care is capable of handling a wide range of minor illnesses and symptoms.
- Doctors and staff at a free-standing ER should have specific ER training and experience. All the ER physicians at The ER on Soncy are specifically trained and board certified in Emergency Medicine.
- Free-standing ER centers will have a lab and advanced imaging diagnostics on site – such as CT scan and ultrasound.
- Most urgent care centers are open 10 to 12 hours per day, whereas free-standing ERs are open 24/7, 365 days a year.
- If you are concerned that you may have an emergent medical condition, or may be experiencing symptoms of an emergent medical condition, an ER is where you should go.
Freestanding ERs versus Hospital ERs
There are two basic thoughts to keep in mind when comparing a free-standing ER to a hospital-attached ER.
- Freestanding ERs are ER’s that are not physically attached to a hospital like a traditional hospital-based ER. They are often not crowded and have short wait times. The majority of cases presenting to an ER do not end up requiring hospitalization. With these cases, appropriate testing, diagnosis, and treatments can be done through the ER. If the need for hospitalization were to arise, a freestanding ER will facilitate transfer to the appropriate hospital with the right capabilities.
- While most cases don’t require admission to the hospital, there are situations that would require and benefit from the resources available of a hospital. Some examples include emergent surgery and hospitalizations. If you know your condition requires this type of attention, you should go to a hospital ER.
Caring is our Calling: The ER on Soncy, is a full-service freestanding, 24 Hour ER in Amarillo, Texas, staffed by nurses and physicians trained and experienced specifically in emergency care. We emphasize our motto of “More Care, Less Wait.”