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Walk-in Orthopedic Urgent Care: More and More Patients Avoiding the ER

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Walk-in Orthopedic Urgent Care: More and More Patients Avoiding the ER

Fox Valley Orthopedics Now Offers Extended Friday Night Hours to Meet Growing Need

Day or night, immediate access to orthopedic specialists saves patients time and money. This new concept in orthopedic care is growing nationwide. Fox Valley Orthopedics’ OrthoFirst™ has grown so much that it has expanded its hours to include Friday nights.

“Patients with dislocations, fractures, and sprains used to head straight to the emergency room, wait for several hours, spend a lot of money unnecessarily, and then be instructed to follow up with an orthopedic specialist,” says Dr. Craig Torosian, an orthopedic surgeon and president at Fox Valley Orthopedics. “Now they simply avoid the ER, and come straight to OrthoFirst™.”

Fox Valley Orthopedics’ OrthoFirst™ was launched in August 2012. In 2013, the number of people who came in for orthopedic urgent care was 2136; a year later, that number had shot up to 3361, an increase of 57 percent.

“People are catching on,” says Dr. Torosian. “While an ankle sprain or dislocation is serious to the person suffering, at the ER these conditions are considered a very low priority over someone who has had a stroke or a heart attack. But orthopedic patients are always first at an orthopedic urgent care center.”

While general urgent care centers are becoming more and more prevalent, the staff at these centers are often lacking in orthopedic expertise. Patients are beginning to realize that it doesn’t make sense to see an ER or general urgent care center physician who isn’t an orthopedic specialist; all he or she will be able to do is perform an X-ray, and refer them on to an orthopedic clinic.

“We often don’t see the tests performed elsewhere,” says Dr. Torosian. “Making it necessary to redo them. This duplication of fees – often higher at an ER than what an orthopedic clinic would charge – and wasting of patients’ time is extremely frustrating for people, especially when they’re in pain.”

But the inefficiencies go beyond time and cost considerations. Seeking immediate care for acute injuries expedites healing. Obtaining same-day treatment from a highly trained, board-certified orthopedic expert assures the proper diagnosis and treatment plan at the time of injury; this is the most effective way to get patients moving again as quickly as possible.

Seeing an expert first can also reduce the potential for complications. In a recent study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers found that more than 90 percent of splinted fractures carried out on children in Maryland emergency rooms and urgent care centers were improperly performed.

Researchers hypothesize that health care professionals in hospitals and urgent care centers aren’t adequately trained in proper splinting techniques. Bringing children to an orthopedic specialist first reduces the potential for fracture complications, and minimizes the amount of time your child will need to spend in the care of a physician.

Trends in healthcare are changing dramatically. When given different options, patients are making better choices for themselves and their families. They’re choosing to save time, and money – as well as the very best route toward healing – by seeing an orthopedic specialist first when a family member experiences an acute injury.

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