Urgent Care Center vs. Emergency Room

When you or a family member is sick or has an injury, you are faced with an emotional and potentially costly question: Is it minor enough to wait for a doctor’s appointment or should you seek care at a hospital emergency room (ER)?

Deciding where to seek care can be a confusing and stressful decision, especially when there is the possibility of waiting days for an appointment to see your primary care physician. Your first call should be to your physician or your child’s pediatrician. Most Humana members can also seek basic health information from the 24-hour Nurse Advice Line (1-800-622-9529), which can be found on the back of their membership ID cards. Nobody should ever take the risk of letting a health condition worsen by waiting or avoid emergency care because of cost considerations. But if you are certain that you do not have a life-threatening emergency, an urgent care center may be an option to the ER.

Concentra, a subsidiary of Humana, is one of the nation’s largest occupational health providers and a fast-growing provider of community-based urgent care services. Concentra is focused on finding ways to help people understand their options when deciding where to seek care. As part of this effort, Concentra recently created an infographic (PDF) that provides an easy-to-understand, visual explanation of the types of minor injuries and illnesses that can usually be treated in an urgent care facility.

This infographic was recently featured in Benefits Magazine (February 2012 issue, Vol. 49, No. 2, page 11) as part of “quick look” series. Additionally, the Department of Defense, NAF Personnel Policy Division, featured the infographic in both its internal and external health benefits newsletter (PDF).