Primary Healthcare Provider, Urgent Care and Emergency Room – Which Treatment Option to Choose?








Emotions run high, when someone dear is injured or ill. It is hard to decide, whether to take them to primary care center, urgent care clinic or emergency room. The decision from whom to seek treatment will be based on your medical needs. Let’s understand all the three options in detail.

Primary care center

Your primary care health provider needs to be called first, especially in non-emergency condition. Primary care provider is approached for your routine check-up as well as non-emergency healthcare. Your doctor helps to manage your healthcare needs and make healthy choices. Even if you are struggling with chronic disease, primary healthcare providers recommend regular screening & testing to manage or alleviate pain.

As you have a long-term relationship with your doctor, so he/she is well aware about your health history including your medicines [if any] and what other chronic conditions need consideration during the treatment. It is an option, which helps to avoid long waiting periods found in emergency room. Moreover, the cost of a trip to your primary healthcare provider is significantly less than a visit to emergency room. In case, your doctor is not specialist in the care area you need then he/she can offer reference to another medical expert.

Urgent care clinic

If your primary health care doctor is unavailable or you need care outside regular office hours [unable to wait for appointment] then urgent care clinic is a great option. Urgent healthcare clinics are walk-in facilities found in several large retail stores and pharmacies. You don’t need an appointment as they are open even after regular work hours. You just need to walk-in ER specialists urgency center to get necessary treatment. The facilities are staffed with physician and nurses, who take care of simple conditions [non-life-threatening] like –

  • Cuts & abrasions
  • Cold, cough & flu
  • Sore throat
  • Minor burns
  • Pink eye
  • Ear-aches
  • Muscle strains
  • Stomach virus and more

Some urgent complex issues, which need urgent attention and cannot be delayed until the next day are also treated. Urgent care clinics also have on-site testing like –

  • X-ray facility
  • Lab service for blood & other tests
  • On-site pharmacy

Urgent healthcare clinic costs less then visit to emergency room. However, it is sensible to check that the clinic you choose is covered under your insurance plan or not.

Emergency room

Emergency room is designed to take care of severe, urgent and life-threatening conditions. They are not a place for minor ailments or routine care. Call 911, if you experience symptoms like –

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Compound fracture
  • Coughing of blood
  • Vision changes
  • Sudden slurred speech, confusion, and weakness
  • Feel significant or probable life-threatening distress

You can even visit the emergency room right away if you are struggling with above symptoms. Otherwise visiting doctor’s office or urgent healthcare clinic is good option. In this way, the emergency room will be clear to treat patients needing emergency care.

Understand the healthcare treatment options and move towards healing quickly!