Urgent Care's Forte
Written by: Ravi Bains
Urgent Care's Forte
It is Friday afternoon, and your child is fussy, pulling on his ear, with a low-grade fever. The first step should always be calling your pediatrician's office or an after-hours answering service to discuss the symptoms with a triage nurse or a physician. Let us say, you cannot get an appointment until the weekend is over. Then, you are left with two options: emergency room vs an urgent care.
Urgent care is a great concept and critically needed, but now that UC centers have been around for more than a decade, it is time to refine them even more - in other words specialize them in something. At Night Watch we do that in pediatrics. Specialization means training our staff to do everything from basic to complex (in urgent care capabilities) on pediatric patients. From a medical management aspect - it is imperative not to do overly unnecessary treatments or tests - but to have the training and knowledge to know when to do what and when to choose to treat vs watchful waiting. This is the key to excellent quality practice. For instance, the scenario above might NOT need antibiotics for the pulling ears - but it is the peace of mind and good action plan by the provider that works as reassurance on that weekend.
The truth is most pediatric patients do not warrant a trip to the emergency room - but parents have a natural tendency to fear the worst when it comes to their children and often opt for a “better safe than sorry” course of action. Urgent care centers emphasize rapid service and providing a harmonious, non-threatening environment at low cost, while at the same time being a center that one can establish a trust with.
Along with the low-cost aspect, the wait times are much shorter in an urgent care when compared to the emergency room, rightfully so, because they are addressing critically sick patients and sometimes, minor urgencies must wait their turn. Emergency rooms do not have concepts such as “reserve your spot” since a critically sick patient IS going to bump you down your spot - which is also how it should be.
To wrap up, convenience and quality medical practice is our forte and we work daily to refine it.