If you hurt yourself or suddenly fall ill, your first instinct might be to schedule an appointment with your doctor. In many cases, however, the condition requires immediate care and your doctor may not be available at a moment’s notice. In times like this, consider going to an urgent care clinic. Below you will find a list of pros and cons for urgent care clinics to consider before you go.
Pros for Urgent Care Clinics
The main advantage associated with urgent care clinics is that you can walk in without having an appointment and still be seen by a qualified physician. Urgent care clinics are a good choice for sudden health conditions and mild to moderate injuries that need to be treated promptly but do not pose a threat to your life. Many urgent care clinics have flexible hours, including weekends and evening hours, which is great for working adults. In most cases, the wait time at an urgent care clinic will be much shorter than at the ER, and you can still get diagnostic services and prescriptions at most urgent care clinics.
Cons for Urgent Care Clinics
The downside of urgent care clinics is that they may not be equipped to handle life-threatening conditions in the same way an ER is. It may also be a disadvantage that you probably will not see the same doctor each time you visit the clinic. Some critics of urgent care suggest that the quality of service is lower than what you would receive from your main doctor, but, in many cases, the service is the same. Another potential downside is that the urgent care clinic might not have your medical records on file unless it is affiliated with your main physician.
In cases where your illness or injury might be life-threatening, you should always go to the emergency room. If your condition is not life-threatening but should still be treated within 24 hours, the urgent care clinic might be the better option.