Urgent care clinics cater to patients that need immediate medical attention — but not emergency care.
These clinics specialize in treating a wide variety of urgent conditions including:
Most in-person urgent care centers see patients on a walk-in basis (though some also take appointments). The downside to visiting such a clinic is that you may end up waiting for hours to see a doctor for a 10-minute appointment (often in a waiting room with sicker patients).
Many urgent care clinics are also out-of-network with many insurance providers and charge a few hundred dollars for a quick appointment to patients without insurance.
Urgent care and emergency care centers are very similar. Both treat patients on-the-spot for urgent healthcare issues and see people on a walk-in basis.
Yet, emergency rooms specialize in patients that need life-saving assistance or overnight care.
If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, are unable to breathe, have bluish lips or skin, or are finding it difficult to stay conscious, you probably need emergency care.
Yet, if your symptoms are less severe, you may want to head to an urgent care clinic instead of an emergency room. ERs admit patients with the most severe emergencies first. That means you may wait for hours and hours to see a doctor if you only have minor injuries.
Luckily, more and more urgent care clinics are now treating patients online. This means that you can make an appointment to chat with an urgent care professional and get help within a few hours.
The best part is that your living room doubles as a waiting room. There’s no need to leave your home — or deal with sicker patients.