What is an Urgent Care Center?

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What is an Urgent Care Center?

July 14th, 2021

For those who have visited an urgent care center, there is no need to explain the void it can fill that lies between a primary care doctors office and a hospital emergency room. For those who have not sought out treatment at an urgent care center, read on to learn why you might be missing out on quality, convenient, and affordable medical care.

An Urgent Care Center Defined

According to Mount Sinai, an urgent care center provides “easy access to quality healthcare for the times when your primary care physician’s offices are closed.” In other words, it is a place to get the necessary healthcare you need for non-life-threatening emergencies.

When Should I Visit an Urgent Care Center?

Again, you should visit an urgent care center when you have a medical issue that isn’t life-threatening, but cannot wait to be addressed.

When Should I Visit an Emergency Room?

The emergency room should be used for life-threatening medical conditions. According to Oxford Medicine, these are some examples:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Treatment algorithm for adults with anaphylaxis
  • Choking
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Adult basic life support
  • Cardiac arrest management
  • Post-resuscitation care
  • Severe sepsis and septic shock
  • Shock
  • Stroke

These are just several examples of emergency medical situations. If you feel your current medical condition puts your life in jeopardy, please dial 9-1-1 immediately.

When Should I Visit an Urgent Care Center?

Very Well Health suggests you view urgent care centers as a typical doctor’s office with longer hours and better flexibility. Urgent care centers often provide the same services as your doctor’s office including check-ups, flu shots, women’s and men’s health, and pediatric care in addition to the obvious – illness. Additionally, urgent care centers can also treat many of the same, non-life-threatening conditions one might visit an ER for. Here are some examples of medical situations that can be treated at an urgent care center vs. a hospital emergency room:

  • Broken bones
  • Minor cuts
  • Stitches
  • Throat or nasal swabs
  • Flu
  • Draining an abscess
  • Rashes
  • Pink eye
  • UTIs

Again, for any life-threatening medical issue, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

The Benefit of an Urgent Care Center

One of the main benefits of an urgent care center over the ER is the cost. Emergency room visits are expensive, so if you can visit an urgent care center instead, you’ll save yourself a lot of money. Cost will depend on your insurance plan, so be aware of your coverage and treatment options. Also, you will experience shorter wait times at an urgent care center and have a better chance of following up with the same provider if needed. Emergency rooms have to prioritize medical issues that are life-threatening. If you have a minor issue, you may have to wait longer to see a doctor in an ER. Lastly, urgent care centers often provide the option to schedule an appointment or just walk in, allowing you to be seen by a medical professional when you want and need to be seen.

Now that you know what an urgent care center is and does, do some research to find one that works best for you. Consider what matters most like quality of care, convenience, and cost. To find a Cure location near you, please visit our locations page.

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