Telemedicine, Urgent Care, or Emergency Room: Which One You Should Use
Seeking care in the most appropriate setting can save you money, expedite your care, and help to reduce unnecessary visits to the emergency room. Scroll down to learn more about your different options and conditions to seek care at each type of facility.
Telemedicine is a service that may be available through your insurance. You can call or video chat with a doctor any time of the day for minor issues. These doctors can assess your condition and even prescribe medicine. Please note that this is not a substitute for a Primary Care Physician.
Common uses for telemedicine:
- Colds, flu, bronchitis, sinus infections
- Eye infections and foreign bodies
- Insect bites, poison ivy, oak or sumac
- Low-grade fevers
- Minor allergic reactions and allergic rashes
- Sore throats
- Urinary tract infections & yeast infections
Urgent Care Facilities
Urgent care is a walk-in facility that provides immediate care for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Urgent care facilities typically have extended hours. Evaluate your insurance copays before going. Often times, urgent care facilities are cheaper than the emergency room but more costly than utilizing telemedicine.
Common uses for urgent care:
- Burns – first & second degree
- Earaches & outer/middle ear infections
- GI upsets such as vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion
- Mild dizziness or vertigo
- Minor backaches
- Minor cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds
- Needle sticks and foreign body removal
- Severe sunburns, heatstroke, or dehydration
- Work release, drug or alcohol testing
- Broken or fractured bones
An emergency room is a hospital department that is intended to provide immediate care for life-threatening injuries and illnesses in addition to other conditions. Emergency departments are open 24/7 and can usually provide very comprehensive diagnostics and treatment.
Common uses for the emergency room:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Large penetrating cuts
- Burns over a large area of the body
- Third-degree burns of any part of the body
- Penetrating eye injuries
- Chest pain, COPD, asthma, and shortness of breath
- Sudden loss of vision or double vision
- Abdominal pain
- Gynecological conditions
- Children under the age of 2
- Psychiatric or emotional conditions
*Copay is waived with most insurance plans if admitted
Do not delay evaluation for life-threatening or serious illnesses. If you have a major injury or are experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, slurred speech, dizziness or confusion, go to the nearest ER or call 911.
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