What is the Difference Between Urgent and Emergency Care?

When it comes to medical care, it's important to know the difference between urgent and emergency care. Urgent care is for injuries or illnesses that are not life-threatening, while the emergency room is for serious problems that can be considered a medical emergency. One of the biggest differences between urgent care and the emergency room is wait time and accessibility. Urgent care is the middle ground between your primary care provider and the Emergency Department.If you have a minor illness or injury that you can't wait until tomorrow, urgent care is the best option.

It's also a good option if you have illnesses or injuries with no other symptoms, or if you have no other underlying health conditions. For example, an earache can be easily treated at Urgent Care. However, if it is accompanied by a high fever (104°F or higher), if you have a history of cancer, or are taking immunosuppressive medications, it is important to have you examined in the emergency department. It's important to note that urgent care is not emergency care. Urgent care centers are same-day clinics that can treat a variety of medical problems that need to be treated right away, but are not considered true emergencies.

The difference is the urgency; these facilities are generally not equipped to treat life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Unfortunately, many patients seek urgent care when in fact they have an emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Scripps offers urgent care services for children and adults seven days a week at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Jefferson (in Oceanside), Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo and Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines. Hospital emergency services are prepared for all types of medical emergencies, are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year and have special teams and highly qualified doctors, physician assistants and nurses to respond to all types of medical emergencies for adults or children. When in doubt, call 911; the most important thing is that you get to the emergency room quickly and safely. Your primary care doctor is the ideal first person to go to for non-emergency health problems because of their knowledge of your medical history.

The cost of an urgent care visit is the same as the cost of the Ingalls Memorial emergency service for the same level of care. Unlike urgent care centers or walk-in clinics, hospital emergency services are equipped and staffed to address the most complex or critical needs, including situations that endanger life and limbs, from heart attack and stroke to traumatic injuries following a car accident. While you or the victim can choose the hospital of your choice, an emergency may warrant going to the nearest emergency center for immediate treatment. Urgent care clinics tend to be less expensive and have shorter wait times than emergency departments. The Mayo Clinic Health System has offered urgent care for more than 20 years, but many people don't know when to use it.

Knowing the difference between a walk-in clinic, an urgent care center and a hospital emergency room can make a big difference, especially if you have a medical emergency. Unless a condition is life-threatening, going to an urgent care center is often a better use of a patient's time and resources to treat injuries, fevers, infections, and other ailments. We understand that there are important differences between a 24-hour emergency clinic in Dallas and a 24-hour urgent care clinic in Dallas. Go to an urgent care clinic when you need care right away, but the illness or injury isn't considered fatal.

Bridgette Onken
Bridgette Onken

Subtly charming food fan. Total tv enthusiast. Passionate food ninja. Hardcore travel junkie. Friendly burrito practitioner.