Almost 42 percent of the total U.S. population visited an emergency room in 2015, according to statistics compiled by the CDC. Of the nearly 137 million visits, 39 million were injury-related.
In addition to injuries, the top 5 reasons for ER visits were:
With so much time spent in the ER and so many care choices available, it helps to know a little bit about your local ER (and how to get ER ready) before you make that trip. Here are 5 things to look for in an emergency room.
Emergency room wait time.
Most people expect to wait in the ER unless it's a serious emergency or severe injury. In a less urgent situation, look for an ER that can give you an idea of how long that wait might be — preferably before you arrive. Medical City Healthcare ERs feature online wait times that are updated every 30 minutes.
Emergency room personnel and lab services.
You should expect to find board-certified and board-eligible emergency medicine physicians and specially trained emergency nurses and staff in the ER. You'll also want the convenience of onsite imaging capabilities, such as X-ray and CT scan, as well as laboratory services. Having these services on hand saves time and eliminates additional travel.
Pediatric emergency room.
Children are not tiny adults; they have very specific needs when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. These include:
- Pediatric-trained doctors, nurses and staff
- Pediatric rooms with child-sized equipment and supplies
- Pediatric medication dosing for safety
Learn more about why you should choose a pediatric ER for your littlest patients.
Emergency room convenience.
Emergency room convenience is about more than just which location is closest to your home. In the case of a serious emergency or severe injury, you should always call 911 or go to the nearest ER. But in other cases, you may want to consider additional convenience factors.
If the ER closest to you is not located inside or on the same campus as a hospital, is it affiliated with a hospital? If so, that's considered a hospital-based emergency department (HBED). HBEDs may have advantages over freestanding ERs (those not affiliated with a hospital), including:
- Board-certified physicians and specially trained staff
- Full-service care, 24/7/365
- Pediatric expertise and training
- Insurance acceptance same as hospital
- Seamless transition to hospital if a higher level of care is needed
- Recognition by Medicare and Medicaid
Additional emergency services.
Most ER visits are not too serious and the patient goes home. But a significant number end up in the hospital (12.3 million in 2015) or in critical care (1.5 million). When you're not sure if it's heartburn or a heart attack, a migraine or a stroke or something worse than flu that's causing your stomach pain, having the facilities and personnel of a full-service hospital can be lifesaving.
For all of your emergency needs, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.