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When to Go Express Care vs. the ER

Sep 01, 2023

When to Go Express Care vs. the ER
When you’re injured or ill, it’s not always easy to decide whether you need urgent care or a trip to the emergency room. Find out what our urgent care team can treat, so you can get the right care as quickly as possible.

Injuries and illnesses don’t follow a schedule. In fact, it often seems like they happen when we least expect them. The unpredictability of urgent medical issues can make it harder to get treatment, especially if you have a busy schedule or other obligations like kids or older family members to think about. 

In these situations, heading to the emergency room (ER) for quick care might seem like a good solution. But the ER comes with high costs, exposure to germs, and very long wait times. That’s because the ER is designed specifically to care for people with severe medical problems that need emergency treatment, which means it could be hours before a provider is available to tend to less serious medical needs.

At Catalyst Medical Group, our providers offer express care, a walk-in, urgent care service aimed at helping patients get prompt care for medical concerns, so they can feel better fast. In this post, learn when express care is the right choice for your needs and when a trip to the ER is a better option.

Express care basics

Express care features the same personalized care and treatment our patients receive at a scheduled visit. Each appointment begins with an evaluation of your urgent medical concern, along with a review of your medical history, including any medications or supplements you may be taking.

Depending on your issue, we may order lab tests or diagnostic imaging to obtain as much information as possible. Next, our team prescribes treatment to help you feel better and restore optimal health. 

In some cases, we provide prescriptions or referrals to other health care providers for more complex needs. After your visit, we can forward your appointment information to your primary care doctor for follow-up as needed.

Express care vs. the ER

While express care is a great option for people with urgent care needs, there are times when a visit to the emergency room is the better option. Knowing which service to choose is critical for ensuring you get the right care as quickly as possible.

When to choose express care

Express care offers comprehensive care for people with a wide array of urgent care needs, including:

  • Colds and flu
  • Sore throat
  • Earache
  • Headache, including migraines
  • Minor cuts and burns
  • Sprains, strains and breaks
  • Insect stings
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Minor skin infections
  • Allergy and asthma needs

Plus, we offer onsite lab testing and radiology services, so you can feel confident about receiving the most appropriate care based on your unique and specific needs.

When to head to the ER

As the name implies, the emergency room is designed to treat medical emergencies and life-threatening medical problems. These include injuries and illnesses, including:

  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Severe Head wounds
  • Car accidents with serious injuries
  • Open fractures
  • Serious burns
  • Chest pain and heart ailments
  • Possible stroke

If you have a life-threatening or emergency medical need, head to the nearest ER or call 9-1-1 immediately.

The right care for your health needs

Catalyst Medical Group is dedicated to serving the medical and health needs of the local community, which is why we offer express care services, seven days a week — yes, even on weekends. 

During office hours, you can simply walk in for care. Should you need medical attention after hours call the team at 208.746.1383 to get care right away.