You or your family member is sick. What do you do? Before, your best option was to call your primary doctor and plead to get an appointment within a few days. Now, with so many urgent care clinics being added, you have the option to drive to one and walk in. You’ll probably be out in less than an hour.
Even if immediate medical attention is not the issue, walk-in clinics offer vaccinations and physicals. This might lead you to wonder if you even need a primary doctor anymore.
Criteria for Urgent Care Clinics
First, what makes an urgent care clinic what it is? These clinics:
- Do not require you to make an appointment.
- Treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries.
- Are open seven days a week.
- Have on-site diagnostic equipment.
Infections, cuts or broken bones are all reasons to go to your local urgent care clinic.
Where Your Primary Doctor Comes In
It’s called “urgent care” for a reason – you need attention immediately. Most primary doctors cannot provide immediate attention.
Your primary doctor is necessary for chronic conditions. A walk-in clinic means you’ll get whatever doctor is available, which is similar to the emergency room. Your primary doctor is your doctor and will help you manage any chronic conditions.
More and more primary care facilities are opening up urgent care branches. This is great news, because it means easier sharing of your medical history. If you don’t use an urgent care center affiliated with your primary care doctor, make sure you share the necessary paperwork so they know what’s going on with you and how you were treated.
The Future of Primary Care
With more people on health insurance, you can expect even longer wait times to get an appointment at your primary doctor. Primary care facilities do leave open slots for people that need immediate attention, but these slots can fill up fast.
Urgent care clinics can help relieve pain and other symptoms, helping you get better faster. Your primary doctors will continue to be the go-to for long-term management of your chronic conditions.