Most of us try our hardest to avoid risky situations that could end with someone getting hurt. But sometimes, you may not be able to anticipate the dangers that may cause you harm. That’s evidenced by the fact that someone is injured every second in the U.S. -- and every three minutes, someone is killed due to preventable circumstances.
Summertime, in particular, can present a great many health hazards. Although the snow and ice may be gone, the increased time we spend outside during this time of year can be detrimental to our well-being in certain ways. That’s why it’s not actually surprising that emergency room visits increase anywhere from 15% to 27% between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
For example: jumping on the trampoline with your kids can get your heartrate up, but it can also leave you vulnerable to injury. In fact, orthopedic surgeons see up to three patients per week due to injuries sustained on a trampoline. Those buzzing bees can wreak havoc on our lives, too; nearly 7 million people experience life-threatening allergies as a result of insect stings and bites. And if you thought that family picnic was a safe haven, you could be wrong -- especially if food is left out in hot temperatures for long periods. Food poisoning always peaks in summertime, but it already puts around 300,000 people in the hospital every year.
This summer, it’s essential to avoid allergens, watch what you eat, and take care to prevent unnecessary injuries. If your instincts are telling you that a situation could pose a potential threat to your health (or that of your family), you might want to listen to your gut from the get-go. And of course, if you do sustain an injury, experience an allergic reaction, or come down with an illness, you should seek out fast medical treatment from your local urgent care clinic.
Although urgent care clinics can now be found all across the country, not everyone realizes that these facilities can treat all kinds of injuries and ailments. Many patients assume that they can't go to their local walk-in urgent care center for flu treatment, a broken bone, or even minor burns or back pain. Often, this results in unnecessary (and expensive) emergency room visits. That was certainly a trend that Dr. Jay Woody, the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Legacy ER and Urgent Care, observed back when he was a board-certified ER physician.
In a recent profile in VoyageDallas, Dr. Woody explained: "I began to notice a disturbing trend -- many of the people I treated on a daily basis did not need emergency level care. These people did not have many options at the time, so they went to the hospital which leads to overcrowding, long waits, and large bills for those non-emergent cases."
Dr. Woody's experiences are echoed in statistical data. While there are many reasons to go to the emergency room, the reality is that only 3% of patients who go to an urgent care clinic actually need to be diverted to an ED. Still, Dr. Woody's involvement in emergency room care made him want to keep helping those who found themselves in potentially life-threatening health situations.
Over a decade ago, Dr. Woody and his team came up with the ideal compromise: a full-service emergency room attached to an urgent care center, both housed in one retail-type setting. At that time, something like this had never been attempted. Some even believed that the move was too risky. But the team forged ahead knowing that they had tapped into something innovative and necessary.
As Dr. Woody told VoyageDallas:
"By not being affiliated with any hospital or health system... customer service and loyalty was our main marketing. We knew we could create a new standard for the level of service in healthcare. Patients were used to long waits, confusing billing, and most of all, a less-than-stellar level of service. We hatched a novel plan to train all of our staff in customer service and [eliminate] all of the typical healthcare stereotypes... We invite patients to come in, ask questions and to always get a smile... We created a proprietary process that alleviates the typical long waits and door-to-door times by keeping patients moving. Most of our Urgent Care level patients are getting back into their cars within 35 minutes. Even on our busiest days, patients will only be in our reception area for less than 5 minutes. In these busy North Texas communities, time and money are the biggest factors for customer loyalty and this dual model and attention to customer service have created a recipe for success."
There have been challenges along the way, of course. But through it all, we've been dedicated to providing excellent medical care and fantastic customer service to every patient who walks through our doors -- whether they have reasons to go to the emergency room or can be treated by our urgent care staff. Best of all, our model provides immense cost savings: in 2017, 84% of our 85,000 patients seen were billed at the urgent care level -- thus eliminating $20,000,000 in unnecessary ER charges for patients and their employers. So while we still see some patients with reasons to go to the emergency room section of our facility, it's clear that the majority of those who come here for urgent medical care are able to be treated quickly and affordably. Contact us today to learn more.
The full interview with Dr. Jay Woody can be found on VoyageDallas's website.
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.
Legacy ER & Urgent Care
Legacy pioneered retail healthcare in 2008 and is now ranks in the top 1% of global retailers for customer service.