To the average consumer, the key similarity between the urgent care center and the emergency room is plain to see: you get to see a doctor without an appointment. That’s deceptively simple, however, and doesn’t take into account relative wait times, cost to the patient and the insurer, whether the complaint is truly emergent, and the overall implications of going to the ED when it’s not necessary. FastMed Urgent Care, which owns and operates 109 facilities in Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas pooled data from its own resources to help illustrate the differences to the general public, with the hope of helping patients make informed decisions when they do have immediate needs. One data nugget, based on its own figures: As many as 27% of ED patients could have been effectively treated in urgent care, at an average savings of $2,090 and 3 hours per patient—without sacrificing quality of care. Looking at the bigger picture, FastMed estimates that patients spend $4.4 billion on unnecessary ED visits annually.
FastMed Pools Data to Highlight Differences Between Urgent Care and the ED