Emergency Room vs Urgent Care

Hi, I’m Randy Likes, emergency trained physician practicing here at Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem, Utah. There’s several pretty big differences between the Emergency Department and Urgent Care. Although, I must say that urgent cares have really expanded their scope and there is a much wider range of what people would call an urgent care or what might be advertised as an urgent care.

Primarily, the urgent cares are for things that would typically be seen in a regular doctor’s office. Runny nose, colds, sprained ankles,simple things that you would consider going to your regular doctor if you had the availability or had the time to get in to see them. On the other side of that,the emergency departments are exactly what they stand for. We’re emergency departments,we’re set up to deal with any acute medical emergency and that is whether it’s a true medical emergency or perceived medical emergency,we would like to see everyone that feels like they have something that needs to be addressed right now.

One of the reason that you may choose our emergency department over an urgent care are ED physicians are all ER trained and boarded in emergency medicine. We have a very highly trained nursing staff,many of them have gone on to do advanced emergency medicine training in pediatrics as well as adult populations. And that’s something that you’re just not going to run into with most of your urgent cares. Up and beyond that, we also have the direct specialty covers that is here, ready and available and you would not have to be transferred to another facility to get that additional care if it is needed at that time. Timpanogos Regional Hospital here in Orem, Utah, we have the benefit of being in an area where we have a lot of specialty coverage so we’re able to provide services at a hospital this size where,if you’re in many other regions around the country,you wouldn’t have that capability.

So specifically, we have all specialties covered with the exception of 24 hour day neurosurgery coverage. So if you come in with a stroke or a heart attack or a severe orthopedic injury, those are all things that we are very capable of treating here and keeping here. We also have a very high level neonatal intensive care uni there which is one of the best in the region so the little babies, the ones three months and under,we’re very capable of caring for them as well.

Cardiology Emergency Care at Timpanogos Regional Hospital

So, we have full range of the cardiac services. We have a full-time Cardiothoracic Surgeon. So, the ability is taken care of acute strokes,acute heart attacks. If somebody needs bypass surgery, heart valve replacement,those are all things that we can do here. There’s a couple of things that do get a fair amount of press and I think we’re doing a better job as a country alerting people,things that they need to come in for immediately and not wait.

Two of those top ones are chest pain with the potential heart attack and the second one is any sort of neurologic symptoms. That may be warning that there may be a stroke going on. So, for chest pain and chest pain is not always the typical elephant sitting on your chest. People can have a variety of different symptoms for chest pain but if you’re concerned and you’re having chest pain. If you are having a heart attack,you’re gonna have the best results if you can get to the hospital and get to the cardiac catheterization lab to look for that blockage and have that all done within 60 minutes. And believe it or not we’re able to do that almost every single time someone comes in that’s having an active heart attack.

The chance of you going on and having a better prognosis down the road and less complications,if you hit that time window,is much much better. You think you’re having a heart attack or if you have chest pain, or if there’s symptoms of potentially a stroke going on, our EMS system here in this region is exceptional and you are going to be able to get the initiation of care before you even get to the hospital.

So if you have those symptoms,I would encourage you to dial 911 and initiate our EMS system. If you are outside in a rural region, where there may be a longer response time, or people that aren’t trained as well as they are in this region,that might be a different story. But here, if you have one of those things or anything else that you perceive as life threatening, you’re gonna get treatment started before you even get to the hospital. And I would encourage you to use our 911 system.