When you are facing a medical emergency, the decision to visit an emergency room or a walk-in urgent care center can be a difficult one to make.
Not every instance of heartburn, bleeding, a muscle pull, or burns may require you to call 911 or rush to the nearest emergency room.
The questions you must ask yourself in making this decision are:
- Is the medical condition you are looking to have treated extreme or life-threatening?
- Does your medical condition require care during a time when most primary care clinics are closed?
- Is a diagnosis needed quickly?
This guide provides a quick comparison between an urgent care center and an emergency room to help you make that tough choice in a time of need.
What Are Urgent Care Centers? They Are For Minor And Not Major Medical Conditions
Urgent care centers act as a middle path between home care or a trip to the ER. They exist to treat minor, not major, medical conditions. All minor conditions that cannot be treated at home, yet still require treatment within 24 hours can be diagnosed and treated in these urgent care centers.
In comparison, emergency rooms are intensive care units equipped to treat severe cases of trauma, life-threatening accidents, serious illnesses, or acute conditions that require immediate medical intervention.
Medical Equipment And Infrastructure
Walk-in urgent care clinics, like Prime Urgent Care, are staffed with a team of medical practitioners available to treat your minor medical conditions seven days a week without a prior appointment, and have adequate medical equipment in the clinic for quick x-rays, running basic lab tests, splinting a broken bone or stitching up a wound. Our medical staff is well-trained in emergency procedures and a broad spectrum of family medicine, enabling them to treat patients of all ages and health conditions.
Urgent care centers are usually open for extended hours after primary care clinics and other healthcare providers are closed. Prime Urgent Care clinics in Pearland, Missouri City and Sugar Land, TX are open from 8 AM to 8 PM on weekdays and from 9 AM to 5 PM over the weekend.
Emergency rooms, on the other hand, usually offer medical treatment for serious conditions services 24 hours a day and have advanced capabilities for running in-depth diagnostics, equipment to treat life-threatening emergencies as well as immediate access to specialists in various medical fields.
If you have a burn or a cut that you want to be addressed quickly, the doctors at urgent care centers will attend to you faster and without the need for an appointment.
As a walk-in clinic, urgent care patients are seen and treated on a first-come, first-serve basis. At Prime Urgent Care, we offer online check-in options so you can wait at home for your appointment. The priority in the emergency rooms is naturally given to accident cases or patients with life-threatening conditions and the wait time could be considerably longer than in an urgent care center.
Understanding the true nature of your emergency can also reduce the burden on hospital ER facilities. It has been estimated that well over half of the patients who rush to the ER every year could have sought alternative care.
Urgent care centers, like Prime Urgent Care, offer comprehensive treatment options that are usually much more cost-effective than emergency rooms. Urgent care visits are usually covered under insurance plans. If you are not covered under insurance, however, Prime Urgent Care offers cash pay or self-pay options.
When you self-pay, you may be required to pay an additional amount for lab services and x-rays, although the details should be explained before any additional services are rendered.
As most urgent care centers are walk-in clinics, you are not required to make any appointments. To make your interaction with us at Prime Urgent Care convenient, again we offer the option of checking-in online so you can wait for your turn in the comfort of your own home, while our system provides you with an approximate time that you can meet the medical practitioner.
Through our web check-in system, you can also update your personal and insurance information online. If you have a cold or a fever and are experiencing shortness of breath, we would advise you to book a telemedicine appointment with us to test for Covid-19.
Is Your Medical Condition A Minor Or A Major One – How Do You Understand The Nature Of Your Medical Emergency?
To make that crucial decision in a time of potential crisis, you will first need to understand what constitutes a medical emergency.
Medical conditions that are not life-threatening or can cause extensive damage to limbs or organs can be treated in an urgent care center. Here are a few examples of medical conditions that can be easily diagnosed and treated in an urgent care center:
- A fever that is not responding to treatment at home
- Minor cuts
- Burns or bruises
- A suspected bone fracture or sprain
On the other hand, here are some serious medical conditions that you should visit an emergency room for or call 911 immediately:
- Severe chest pains especially on the left side of your body
- A serious injury or burns
- An electrical shock
- Conditions such as sudden confusion or a feeling of paralysis, which are indicative of a possible stroke
For more information on urgent care, please visit www.primeuc.com.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your healthcare needs or treatment options, call or text us at (713) 340-3111