For a few different reasons, musculoskeletal conditions are a major concern for many Americans. These ailments -- which can impact one’s muscles, bones, and joints -- can be caused by a variety of factors including overuse, exertion, or exposure to excess force. Examples of these ailments can include tendinitis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome, among others.
The reality is that one out of every seven Americans reports dealing with a musculoskeletal condition. And with the hundreds of thousands of people affected, these conditions cost the United States approximately $254 billion each and every year. Considering that more than 7 million Americans actually require hospitalization due to orthopedic conditions and more than 63% of all injuries in the U.S. involve the musculoskeletal system, we need to do everything we can to avoid unnecessary injuries and overall strain.
Knee pain is the number one reason Americans seek out orthopedic treatment, with back pain as the number two reason. If you know these areas are of particular concern for you, it’s essential to take steps to protect them. Wearing a brace and refraining from certain activities (whether it be running on hard concrete or lifting heavy objects) can certainly help. Stretching and regular exercise can play an important role, too. Although some may be inclined to believe that not partaking in strenuous physical activity is the best route to take, the reality is that this can actually make your body more prone to injury. Instead, aim to exercise -- safely and at your own comfort level -- for 30 minutes per day to reduce your risk of bone and joint injury. Some people find that swimming can be much more gentle on the body while still providing an excellent workout. For more information about the best physical activities to promote bone and joint health, ask your personal physician.
There may be times when your efforts aren’t enough to prevent a health concern. If you do sustain a musculoskeletal injury, you may be able to seek immediate treatment at your local walk-in clinic. While conditions that require ongoing treatment may be best treated by your doctor, pain in your back, knee, wrist, or other key areas can be assessed and treated by the caring and knowledgeable staff members at your local urgent care center.
As a parent, you would likely do anything to take away your child's pain and keep them safe from harm. When they aren't feeling well or are injured, it might be easy to overreact to a given situation. But in some cases, your instincts may be right on. It may help to really ascertain the differences between a true medical emergency and a health concern that merely requires quick medical treatment. Knowing the difference between these two different types of situations can ensure that your child receives the best treatment available and that you won't take any unnecessary risks with their health. We've outlined some of the most common examples of medical emergencies below, which will typically require emergency room visits, as well as situations wherein a trip to urgent care would be appropriate.
Examples of Non-Emergency Medical ConditionsWith any luck, the majority of illnesses and injuries you'll face as a parent will be in this category. For some non-emergency situations, it may be appropriate to call your child's pediatrician. However, in situations that are not life-threatening but would still benefit from fast medical care, going to a walk-in clinic may be a better option -- particularly if the facility offers comprehensive specialized pediatric care.
According to the Urgent Care Association of America's 2016 Benchmarking Report, the most common illnesses diagnosed and treated at urgent care facilities in 2015 included acute sinusitis, acute upper respiratory infections, cough, acute bronchitis, and acute pharyngitis. Other examples of non-emergency medical conditions may include:
When you're feeling under the weather or have sustained an injury, the last thing you'll want to do is spend hours in the waiting room of your doctor's office or the ER. Long wait times translate to delayed care and decreased patient satisfaction. Essentially, that means that the longer you have to wait to see a physician, the more negative your healthcare experience. If you're trying to figure out whether you should make an appointment with your doctor, go to the ER, or visit a skip the wait urgent care center, consider the following:
The Effect of Wait Time on Patient SatisfactionStudies have found that the amount of time patients spend waiting has a significant impact on how they feel about their doctors. A report released by Vitals, a healthcare consumer engagement group, found that physicians who received five-star ratings had average wait times of 12 minutes and 33 seconds. On the other end of the spectrum, doctors who had only one-star ratings had average wait times of 33 minutes and four seconds. This doesn't necessarily mean that longer wait times equates to greater dissatisfaction, researchers point out; it could be that time mismanagement can result in longer periods in the waiting room and other negative appointment outcomes.
That said, shorter wait times have become a priority for both patients and healthcare providers. Since Vitals started reporting this data in 2009, wait times have decreased by approximately 13%. On a national level, patients wait an average of 18 minutes and 35 seconds to be seen by a doctor. Of course, the type of facility -- a doctor's office, an urgent care clinic, or an emergency department -- will have a big effect on how long you have to wait (and your perception of care).
Why Urgent Care Clinics Win OutWhen you make an appointment at your physician's office or go to the emergency room, there are a number of factors that can impact wait time. When you go to the ER, in particular, you may face wait times of several hours, depending on how busy it is and how life-threatening your condition might be. When you see your regular doctor -- assuming you're even able to secure an appointment in a timely manner -- you may still have to wait 30 minutes or longer to be seen.
But when you want to skip the wait urgent care is often your best bet. The Urgent Care Association of America's 2016 Benchmarking Report found that 92% of urgent care clinics maintained wait times of 30 minutes or less in 2015. Another survey found that approximately 57% of urgent care patients experience wait times of less than 15 minutes. Some urgent care locations even offer the ability to make an appointment or check in online to keep wait times even lower.
When you're seen for healthcare concerns more quickly, you're able to receive a diagnosis and start appropriate treatment more quickly too. Not only does this efficiency mean less wasted time for you, but it also means you'll be feeling like yourself again in no time. To find out more about our skip the wait urgent care options, please contact us today.
Summertime means fun in the sun for the majority of people, but for emergency staff, it means overtime.
Urgent cares and emergency rooms see a spike in injuries and traumas during the summer months, especially since people aren't necessarily in a safety mindset. Usually, the injuries seen are extremely preventable with a little bit of situational awareness.
This summer, instead of contemplating the qualities of an emergency room vs. urgent care in order to figure out where to get treatment, keep an eye out for these sources of common summer injuries.
SunburnsYes, sunburns top the list, and for good reason. Sunburns are extremely preventable with a little bit of sunscreen and caution when being out in the sun. If you're trying to get your tan on out in the backyard, then by all means. Don't go out with absolutely zero UV protection, though, and try not to fall asleep out there. It's never fun to doze off face up on a lawn chair and wake up with chest pain because you're fried to a crisp. You should also know your skin type and your threshold for sunshine. Even on a cloudy day, you can still be exposed to UV rays, so it's important to lather up as often as needed.
Lawn Mowing InjuriesWith summer weather comes the need for landscaping. More specifically, lawn mowing. Unfortunately, lawn mowers are the cause of many emergency room vs. urgent care internal dilemmas. Sticks, rocks, and other objects that lay in the grass can be picked up by the mower blades and shot out of the side like a cannonball. More often than you'd think, someone is on the receiving end. So before you hop on your mower, do a quick canvas of the yard to make sure there isn't anything that could potentially become ammunition.
DehydrationWhen you aren't taking in as much fluids as your body is expelling, dehydration is right around the corner. During the summer months when the temperature rises and your sweat glands are working double time, this process happens a lot faster. Dehydration can cause headaches, nausea, and many other symptoms that aren't all that fun to deal with. If it goes on too long without proper treatment, it could potentially be fatal. So help yourself to a bottle of water every so often to replenish the fluid that your body is so eager to get rid of.
Amazingly, over 70% of patients with consumer-sponsored insurance coverage who visit the ER do so for non-emergency or preventable conditions. So rather than using your insurance, or having to pay a copay, or making an unnecessary trip, keep your wits about you this summer and avoid injury altogether.
Emergency room vs. Urgent care? You no longer have to decide. Visit us today for convenient care.
Legacy ER & Urgent Care
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