Wait Times Between Clinics And Hospital Emergency Rooms: Which Is A Better Option?

Posted on: 26 April 2019

When you are in need of immediate medical attention, but it is not quite a full-on emergency, you can go to the emergency room at a hospital and wait, or you can visit any of the medical services clinics in your area. Both will have wait times, regardless of your injury or sickness or medical concern, but the wait time may be longer in one place than another. The following shows the general wait times for urgent medical help and why you may want to choose one over the other. 

Prioritization in an Emergency Room Makes Wait Times Longer

As you can probably guess, wait times in a hospital emergency room are often longer. Because patients with far more serious issues are rolled out of ambulances and through the emergency doors, they are given priority over anyone with less serious injuries and medical issues.

A rule of thumb is that if someone does not have a head wound, a stabbing, or a gunshot wound, they wait until all of the patients who have horrible wounds are taken care of first. Prioritization is key in the emergency room's waiting room. If you went to the E.R. because you felt you needed to see a doctor right away, you may have a really long wait.

Medical Clinics May Have Wait Times Too

Before you head to a medical clinic near you, call them. Find out if they have any patients waiting right now and what the wait time looks like. If it is going to be longer than you are willing to wait, ask them if they can recommend a similar clinic with a shorter wait.

Some of them have other clinics in other parts of town. The one you called can check patient wait lists and estimate times at the other clinics, helping you decide which one would be the best option for the urgency you have and the time you want to spend waiting. If you just drive to a clinic, and you are given a really long wait time, ask them to check the other clinics in the area to see if any have a no-wait time and can see you immediately or almost immediately. 

Overall Best Option

Your overall best option for any urgent and non-flesh wound/non-broken bone injury is a medical services clinic. Most have wait times of less than an hour, sometimes less than a half hour. If it is a really slow day, you will be in and out in a matter of minutes. That is not the case with most emergency rooms, even if the waiting room at the hospital looks completely empty