Urgent Care vs. Primary Care vs. Emergency Care

When one of your family members gets sick, you need to get them care, no matter the time. However, you may also need to consider the medical issue they have as well as the location in which you live. This will help you choose the most effective place to visit that will make sense both in time and finances. Here is a bit more about primary care, urgent care, and ER care to help you make up your mind.

A recent survey conducted nationally found that over 80 percent of adults who go to the ER said they had no other option. In fact, it was found that about 13.7-27.1 percent of all visits to the ER were not emergencies. This was according to the results of a study conducted in 2010.

If you go to the ER for a case that is not an emergency, you will be kept waiting as others are attended to. Besides that, the ER can be quite costly. Here is a bit more about the three options to help you make your choice.

What is a Primary Care Provider?

A PCP is the doctor that you choose to be your source of regular health needs. He or she is the person that you visit whenever a medical issue arises. This doctor maintains a complete list of your medical history. If the need arises, he or she is the one who will coordinate your treatment with a specialist. Since he has been working with you for years, he will understand what works and what does not.

If you require care during regular hours, the PCP is the one that you contact. During their busy day, they will have some time allotted to sick visits. That means if you make a call, he or she will always make time for you. However, if making the appointment is not possible, he or she will recommend that you visit the ER or an urgent care center instead. He will, of course, provide you with a list of the best options that you can use.

Urgent Care Centers

Urgent care centers are facilities that utilize certified doctors to treat sprains, cuts, nausea, and other types of acute but not deadly illnesses or injuries. If you get sick, you will not need to make an appointment. The best part about these centers is that they open during weekends and for extended hours at night.

It is important that you talk to your primary care doctor first whenever you require any medical attention. However, if the need arises for care at night or on the weekends, you should go to the urgent care center. If you have insurance, you can be sure that it will be accepted at the urgent care center. This will help to reduce the amount that you have to pay. When you visit urgent care centers, it will usually cost you less than an ER visit.

However, you should know that urgent care is not the ER. If you have an emergency and cannot make it to the hospital yourself, it is advisable that you call 911. In just a short while, they will arrive with an ambulance and drive you to the nearest ER center.

If you have an asthma attack, allergic reactions, colds, fever, dizziness, insect bites, or migraines, you can go to the urgent care center. Other ailments such as a urinary tract infection can also be treated at the urgent care center. Anything that is more serious must always be directed to the ER.

What is ER Care?

The ER is the place you visit when facing a life and death situation. It is the place when you take patients that have been critically injured. For instance, those with compound fractures, high fever, chest pain, ingesting objects, major head injury, abdominal pain, severe burns, seizures and much more, should head to the ER immediately.

However, if you use the ER for non-emergencies, just know that you are stressing emergency services in the country. In most cases, some illnesses such as a minor headache can be treated with OTC medication at home. Always speak to your doctor if possible before you head to the ER. Situations that require an ER visit do not occur often. However, know where and when to go to is important. Thus, you should conduct a study of your area and find the best ER facilities such as  Frontline ER. Keep that list and contacts somewhere that is easy to reach for anyone in the home.


Unless it is a major emergency, always have time to speak with your doctor. The doctor is the most affordable method to get treatment in the US. If you do not have an emergency, it is best to visit the PCP and ask him to treat you. If you have an emergency like the signs of a heart attack, call 911 instead of trying to drive yourself to the hospital for safety reasons.



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