This Hospital Created Billboard Ads To Help People Understand The Difference Between Emergencies and 'Urgencies'

by Elana

In the United States, healthcare can be a fairly tumultuous subject. One thing has become clear over the last couple of decades, a lot of people rush to the emergency room for non-emergencies. Not too terribly long ago it became pretty popular for urgent care facilities to pop up all over the place. Urgent Care facilities were designed to perfectly fit in the balance between scheduling appointments days or weeks in advance with one's primary care provider and rushing into the emergency room for urgent matters that aren't actually emergencies.

Emergency rooms are notoriously over-crowded and over-burdened and largely with issues that are simply not emergencies. In an effort to combat the confusion, one Florida based healthcare institution put up billboards to help encourage people to understand the difference between what warrants a visit to the emergency room, versus what could easily be settled in a quick visit to the nearby Urgent Care.

BayCare Health Systems is doing something great in their communities. BayCare is self described as a “leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 15 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions.”

BayCare typically recommends that you visit your primary care provider for an acute illness or injury that is not life-threatening, which is pretty on-par with the medical industry as a whole. However, when things turn more serious, the line between emergency and urgency can become blurred for many patients, especially in the heat of the moment when emotions run high.

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New York-based creative communications company DeVito/Verdi teamed up with BayCare in an ad-campaign to help BayCare resolve some of the issues they were having with patients seeking urgent and emergent care. The communications company shared:

BayCare needed to raise the profile of both its Emergency Care services and its Urgent Care services. However, consumers were getting the two confused, so we created a campaign that would both differentiate the services and raise their profile.
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The advertisements have so far, worked wonderfully. They are eye-catching, amusing, and informative. BayCare has also taken up the responsibility of continuing to clarify in more detail:

ER is appropriate for any life-threatening illness or injury. If you are experiencing chest pain, fainting, loss of vision, shortness of breath or severe abdominal pain then the ER is the correct choice. These facilities are open 24/7 and have all the capabilities to handle any type of medical situation. If in doubt, choosing an ER is usually best.
Calling 911 for chest pain, difficulty breathing or other potentially life-threatening issues is recommended. At the ER you may experience a wait time before seeing the provider. You will usually have a higher out of pocket cost with your health insurance compared to an urgent care facility.
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They also encouraged:

Urgent care is the perfect option for more minor illness and injury. Examples would be upper respiratory conditions, urinary tract infections, nausea/vomiting, lacerations and sprains. These facilities are open evenings and weekends. They are able to repair lacerations and remove foreign bodies.
You will typically receive care quicker and at a lower cost than at an ER.
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After an Imgur user shared photos of the billboards, they gained even more traction and encouraged even more conversation.

Imgur user TheRussMartinShow shared photos of the billboards and suffice it to say, people had a lot of thoughts to share!

After an Imgur user shared photos of the billboards, they gained even more traction and encouraged even more conversation.
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A lot of people raised valid points.

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And as things usually go with the Internet, a lot of jokes were made, too.

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More valid points raised.

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The flu can sometimes be very serious, but it doesn't necessarily warrant an emergency room visit.

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What's a little life-saving, money-saving information without a heaping side of humor? Useless, that's what.

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