Primary care physicians and urgent care clinics can both offer quality medical services, but there are times you have to make tough choices on which is the best method of receiving treatment at the time. Below are a few of the specifics to consider before making the choice.
Sense of Urgency
The choice between seeing a primary care physician and urgent care clinic doctor might seem hard at times, but the trick is to understand the urgency of the situation. If you are experiencing a medical problem that will make it difficult to wait for the doctor to squeeze you in, this is the best time to visit an urgent care clinic. You do not want to sitting around a doctor’s office waiting for an appointment if you are needing stitches, or are in a lot of pain.
Health Problems That Are After Hours
Medical problems can crop up at any time of the day or night. Seeing a primary care physician tends to be a little cheaper and may be covered by insurance, but they also have limited hours. You will often not have much choice in whether to seek medical help from an urgent care clinic if it is late in the day. An urgent care clinic is still a more affordable option to a traditional emergency room.
When Your Primary Care Doctor Has No Openings
Most physicians try to leave some openings in their appointment book to squeeze in emergency, or unexpected visits. There are days that this is not possible, especially during times that areas are being hit hard with colds and flu. This makes a visit to an urgent care clinic the sensible choice.
The Difference Between Chronic and Urgent Conditions
A sprained ankle or pulled muscle is a medical condition that might require urgent attention. Conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and diabetes are long-term chronic conditions that would be better looked after by a regular primary care physician. The medical team at a primary care physicians office will take the time to get to know you, your condition and monitor progress. It is more difficult for an urgent care team to offer this same level of chronic patient care. It is also usually cost prohibitive for those with chronic conditions to seek regular treatment at an urgent care clinic.
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