Dealing with patient self-triage

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IN THE PAST 20 years, episodic care centers have experienced rapid growth.1Episodic care centers include the ambulatory care centers of retail clinics, urgent care centers, freestanding EDs, and hospital-based EDs. Such a variety of healthcare options creates both opportunities and challenges for patients as healthcare consumers. Patients need to decide the level of care and services they may need when they experience an acute illness or injury. This article will explain the challenges associated with patient self-triage with a focus on urgent care centers, and discuss how nurses can play a vital role in easing a patient's transfer from an urgent care center to the ED.
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