Life threatening emergencies such as strokes, heart attacks
or head injuries are always treated at a hospital emergency department, but
what about other health concerns?
Most of us are much more likely to experience
a more minor medical issue such as a fever, small cut or sore throat. These issues
may not be life-threatening, but that doesn't mean they can wait.
While the answer is not always cut and dry, knowing the
different treatment options available at a Northwestern Medicine immediate care
center verses a Northwestern Medicine emergency department could not only save
your life, but also time and money. Northwestern Medicine operates two Chicago
immediate care centers located in River North and Lakeview and three suburban
clinics in Deerfield, Glenview and Evanston, said Jack Franaszek, MD, medical
director of Northwestern Medicine immediate care centers.
"In many ways, immediate care is an extension of a
primary care physician's office," Franaszek said. "Sometimes people
can't get an appointment at their doctor's office so we fill in the gap by
diagnosing and treating things like sore throats, coughs, ear aches and simple
cuts and sprains. While these aliments may be considered minor in the medical
community, they are not minor to the person experiencing them."
Other conditions best treated at immediate care centers
include asthma, diarrhea, flu, pink eye and urinary tract infections. Minor
accidents, skin problems, animal bites and sprains can also be treated at
immediate care centers.
No appointment is needed to be seen at a Northwestern
Medicine immediate care center and all are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 365 days a
year. While patients don't need to have a Northwestern Medicine physician if a
specialist or follow-up care is required, referrals are available, Franaszek
On the other hand, a Northwestern Medicine Emergency
Department is more appropriate for patients with severe medical issues such as
a blow to the head, concerning stomach pains, or profuse vomiting. If you need
an ultrasound, CT scan or extensive blood work, the best place is the emergency
room, said Rahul Khare, MD, a Northwestern Medicine emergency medicine
"Emergency department doctors and clinicians provide
fast care for medical conditions that are or could be life-threatening such as
a heart attack or stroke," said Khare, who is also an associate professor
of emergency medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of
Medicine. "If you or a loved one are involved in an emergency, remember to
bring a list of medications and allergies and remain clam. When you first
arrive, communication is the first step in getting every patient the best
Patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart
disease, or who may be dehydrated and in need of IV therapy should bypass
immediate care and go directly to the Northwestern emergency department, Khare
Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital and the
Northwestern Grayslake Emergency Center also offer "Emergency Room
Express," an online check-in system that allows patients to see the first
available check in time and to hold a spot in line. Although patients are seen
based on the severity of their illness or injury, patients will be seen as
close to their check-in time as possible.
About Northwestern Medicine
Northwestern Medicine is the collaboration between
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Northwestern University Feinberg School of
Medicine around a strategic vision to transform the future of healthcare. It encompasses the research, teaching and
patient care activities of the academic medical center. Sharing a commitment to
superior quality, academic excellence and patient safety, the organizations
within Northwestern Medicine comprise more than 9,000 clinical and
administrative staff, 3,100 medical and science faculty and 700 students. The
entities involved in Northwestern Medicine remain separate organizations.
Northwestern Medicine is a trademark of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and is
used by Northwestern University.
About Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern Memorial is one of the country's premier
academic medical center hospitals and is the primary teaching hospital of the
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Along with its Prentice
Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital has 1,705
affiliated physicians and 6,769 employees.
Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing exemplary patient care
and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of cardiovascular care; women's
health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery; solid organ and soft tissue
transplants and orthopaedics.
Northwestern Memorial has nursing Magnet Status, the
nation's highest recognition for patient care and nursing excellence.
Northwestern Memorial ranks 10th in the nation in the U.S. News & World
Report 2014-15 Honor Roll of America's Best Hospitals. The hospital is
recognized in 14 of 16 clinical specialties rated by U.S. News and is No. 1 in
Illinois and Chicago in U.S. News' 2013-14 state and metro rankings,
respectively. For 14 years running, Northwestern Memorial has been rated among
the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" guide by Working Mother
magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the prestigious National Quality
Health Care Award and has been chosen by Chicagoans as the Consumer Choice
according to the National Research Corporation's annual survey for 15