Urgent care, primary care and emergency care- which one to consider?

When you experience an accident or illness the first question that pops up in your head is where to go to get medical care? Here we have compiled an article to sort out this dilemma during medical scenarios.

  1. ER

When should you visit an ER?

You should visit an ER for acute, sudden-onset symptoms or conditions that can be life threatening or for anything related to triage or diagnosis and stabilization of a serious or critical injury or illness. Example of these are car accidents, broken bones, dislocated joints, sudden severe headache, severe flu symptoms, severe abdominal pain, symptoms of heart attack, severe palpitations & breathing issues, sudden fainting & difficulty speaking, sudden vision change, testicular pain & swelling, vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, seizures, persistent severe diarrhea or vomiting, head or eye injury, suicide attempts, deep cuts with severe bleeding, coughing up blood, or bright red blood in stool and newborn baby with fever .

What are the Pros and Cons of ER

The pros of an ER are that the staff is trained and equipped to handle anything and everything.  The wait time is very less, with an average waiting time of about 22min.

There are also some cons to an ER like ERs are the most expensive health care option available. In ERs there is no prior access to the medical history of the patient to ensure the effective and safe treatment of the patient.

What is the Cost of ER?

An emergency room visit for a complex problem will cost you approximately $2209 to $6936 or more, whereas the visit to an emergency room for a severe problem will cost you $762 to $2929.


When should you visit an Urgent Care?

Urgent care is meant for diagnostics, prescriptions and treatment of non-life threatening conditions that need to be assessed on the same day. Examples of urgent care symptoms are fever without a rash, non-life threatening allergic reactions, ear pain, painful urination, persistent diarrhea, sore throat, vomiting and minor trauma (sprains or shallow cut).

What are the Pros and Cons of Urgent Care?

Evening and weekend appoints are available. Walk-in as well as optional online appointments are also available in Urgent Care units. The average wait time here is 24 minutes.

It is not assured that you will see a medical doctor, as even nurses or physician’s assistant might diagnose and treat you. Medical history records are not established at Urgent Care Units.

What is the cost of ER?

The expense of an Urgent Care Unit visit is somewhere between $119 to $330 or more.


When to visit your doctor?

Family doctors play a very important role in maintaining the health in a healthcare system. You can visit your doctor for diagnostics, prescriptions, preventive care, illness treatment and disease management for non-acute symptoms or managing existing conditions. The symptoms include cold, cough, flu, ear infections, sore throat, minor injuries like sprains, bumps and bruises, skin problems, skin irritations and allergies and urinary tract infections. Your doctor can also co-ordinate your healthcare schedules and treatments for chronic conditions such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, COPD, heart disease, high or low blood pressure issues, diabetes, obesity, spondylitis and substance abuse.

Your general family doctor will be a general physician who will do the diagnostics and screenings. He will write prescriptions to manage symptoms and then further refer to specialists for specific special treatment and care of your ailments. He will also run your annual wellness checkups.

What are the pros and Cons of visiting a doctor or a primary care physician?

Your family doctor has the access to your medical records and health history. SO he can ensure you get appropriate care for your disease or ailment. The drawback of going to a doctor is that you may have to wait for a week or more to obtain his appointment for the medical services.

What is the cost of visiting a doctor?

The expenses of a visit to a doctor vary. If you are a new patient you can be charged approximately $66 to $152, whereas if you visit your existing physician you can be charged somewhere between $48 and $131.


When to visit a walk-in clinic?

Walk-in Blood Test clinics are located inside or near retailers or pharmacies. You can visit a walk-in for screenings, skin condition, non-acute symptoms of common illness or vaccinations. Some symptoms include sore throat, minor to moderate flu –like conditions, cold symptoms, Pink eye, styes, UTI, bladder infections, Vaginal yeast infections, Sinus infections, Heartburn, Indigestion, insect bites or stings, minor cuts, blisters, wounds, suture and staple removal, cholesterol screening, minor skin conditions such as athlete’s foot, shingles, sunburn and lice, vaccinations and general wellness physicals.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Walk-in clinic?

In such clinics no appointments are required and have an on-site pharmacy. There is a transparency of the prices and are also available on weekends. It is less expensive than the other health care provider options.

Most Walk-in clinics are staffed by physician’s assistants and nurses, and you need to provide an accurate medical history record to get a quality checkup and prescription.

What are the charges of a Walk-in clinic?

The cost of a walk-in varies for each service they provide. But all the services range between $45 and $129 only.Now that you know all the details of all the four types of medical service providers you can easily decide when to visit which service for your medical care by minimizing your expenses and also maximizing the effectiveness of the medical care you receive.