Walk in clinic redmond

Grey area in area of life can be confusing and uncomfortable — well, except if you’re into 50 shades of it — however, grey area in healthcare isn’t just confusing or uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous.

When illness and injury strike, it always so black and white. Some conditions, such as the flu, can actually be quite severe, especially if you have an underlying health condition that may further complicate or exacerbate symptoms. In these instances, what’s a patient to do?

While urgent care clinics have been a Godsend in terms of providing affordable, convenient, and reputable access to healthcare, they’ve always caused a bit of confusion — enough to even make emergency room physicians concerned.

A poll conducted last year by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) revealed that over 75% of emergency room physicians are concerned patients are first seeking treatment for emergencies at urgent care centers rather than the hospital. Furthermore, 90% of emergency room physicians polled said they have treated patients that were redirected to a hospital after first seeking treatment at an urgent care location that was ill-equipped to treat them.

While this may seem like a fairly innocent or harmless mistake, it can be fatal in the case of a true medical emergency where every second counts.

True medical emergencies can be difficult to identify, especially if symptoms are fairly mild or asymptomatic. For example, chest pain can be caused by a number of different things, from a heart attack to a bad case of gas. In these instances, it’s best to carefully evaluate any additional symptoms, as well as your overall health or the health of the patient.

While emergency and urgent care are similar in that they both treat acutely arising conditions or injuries, urgent care is not designed as a replacement for emergency care. Rather, urgent care is best reserved for conditions that still require medical attention, but aren’t too severe.