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Emergency Department vs. Urgent Care

There are many situations when the Emergency Department is the right place for patients to go: serious head injuries, chest pain - true emergency situations. But research shows that time and time again many of the patients visiting the Emergency Departments at hospitals could be served at Urgent Care clinics. And in faster time. And for less money.

The 2010 Emergency Department Pulse Report indicates that the national average total time spent in an Emergency Department is 247 minutes, or four hours and seven minutes. When compared with 2002 data, that's an increase of 31 minutes. The average time in Urgent Care centers is less than half that. And Urgent Care clinics continue to average approximately one third the cost of the average Emergency Department visit.

The next time you face an urgent health need, ask yourself if Urgent Care may be the better choice. Your schedule and your wallet will thank you.