December 6, 2017

What is The Difference between Urgent Care and Family Practice?

Whether you are a patient or physician, you will not highly contrasting differences between urgent care and family practice medicine. This article will highlight ten of these glaring differences for you as a patient as well as for physicians.

For Patients

These are some of the outstanding differences you will note between urgent care clinics and family practice medicine as a patient:

  1. Operating Hours

Most physicians who run family practice medicine adhere to the standard working hours of most businesses – they open at 8 am and close at 5 pm during business working days, although some do put in some time over the weekends.

Urgent care clinics, on the other hand, operate round-the-clock. It means that they are always open every day at all hours. It is because they are tasked with providing urgent medical care, so they are always obliged to have their doors open to patients as medical emergencies may strike at any time and any day.

  1. Cost

The services of a family doctor are affordable compared to the services received in urgent care clinics.Several factors influence this, but it mostly has to do with the illness – critical care clinics tend to deal with complex illnesses that require advanced medical care, hence the difference in cost and expenses.

  1. History Keeping

The saying that your family doctor knows you best is true to a certain degree. Your family doctor is tasked with overseeing your overall health. To this end, he/she likely has extensive records of your medical history, and he/she often refers to this account whenever you check in with an ailment.

Urgent care clinics, on the other hand, hardly ever keep medical history reports for their clients. The fact that they deal with numerous random clients on a daily basis hinders this – after all, they can never be sure whether one particular client will check in on a regular basis.

  1. Intimacy

Physicians in all sectors of the practice are trained to be friendly towards their clients. However, there is a significant difference between superficial friendliness and true intimacy/friendship.

Family doctors tend to form a friendly relationship with the clients as they have an intimate knowledge of their health and even personal lives. Over time, the relationship becomes friendly as you place your trust in your family doctor. However, since you will be just another client when you visit an urgent care clinic, it is unlikely that you will nurture an intimate relationship with physicians there – even if you were to visit the hospital several times over time, you could not be guaranteed to deal with the same physician.

  1. Medical Capability

Family doctors are capable of treating most of the common illnesses such as cold and flu, but some diseases are beyond their medical capabilities. In fact, it is not uncommon for family doctors to refer their patients to other doctors and even urgent care clinics and ER centers when faced with complex illnesses.

Urgent care clinics, on the other hand, are more capable than family doctors as they are often staffed by specialized physicians capable of handling a wide range of illnesses.

  1. Equipment

Although ambitious family doctors are improving their clinics’ medical equipment, they are far behind urgent care clinics in most aspects. For instance, it is difficult to find a family practice clinic equipped with advanced equipment such as MRI machines.

Urgent care clinics, however, are better equipped as they are designed to offer critical and advanced medical care – besides, they are better financially capable of sourcing this equipment.

  1. Flexibility

One of the best things about family practice is that the doctor can accommodate most of your needs thanks to their flexible schedules. For instance, your family doctor can visit you at home and administer medical services remotely if it suits you best.

Flexibility is out of the question when working with urgent care clinics. For instance, you have to avail yourself to the clinic if you need medical care, and you have to comply with the rules of the practice.

  1. Waiting Hours

You will wait longer to see your family doctor than you will when dealing with urgent care clinics. It is because family doctors often deal with multiple patients, so you may need to book an appointment several days beforehand. Critical care clinics, on the other hand, offer services on a first-come-first-served basis, and you will be served minutes after checking into the clinic.

For Physicians

If you are a physician, then these are the differences you will likely experience working on either side of the border:

  1. Salary

You will probably earn more working in an urgent care clinic than when working in family practice. However, as a family doctor, this will depend on the number of your clients and your billing plans.

  1. Working Hours

In spite of the fact that family doctors operate under regular working hours, they spend most of their free time following up on their patients’ cases – for instance; they have to prepare notes and make records. Physicians working in urgent care clinics, on the other hand, are occupied only for the time they are in the clinic – they are free to go about their separate activities when their shifts end.

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