Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
March 17, 2021
Urgent care is used for things that can’t wait 30 minutes to an hour: cuts, breaks, burns, and the like. It’s a helpful resource if you have an issue that is non-life-threatening but can’t wait for an appointment booked weeks out.
A primary care physician should be used for:
“An urgent care gives patients the ability to be seen by a medical provider without having a scheduled appointment,” according to Blanchard Valley Health System. And this is one of the main upsides with urgent care. Some other common characteristics you’ll find in most urgent care facilities but not at your doctor’s office are:
Some characteristics of a primary care doctor that you might miss out on at urgent care:
Some reasons to go to urgent care instead of your primary care doctor:
The main thing to keep in mind is that urgent care is known for getting patients in and out quickly. Most people don’t spend more than an hour at an urgent care clinic.
Urgent care clinics are often open during odd hours that many doctor’s offices aren’t and can help at a fraction of the cost of an emergency room visit.
In general, an urgent care clinic shouldn’t replace your primary care facility. They are in no way a substitute for your family doctor. Although both provide patients with high-quality medical care for common illnesses, they’re not interchangeable. Your primary care physician should be:
It doesn’t matter your background – having a healthy relationship with a medical professional is the best way to stay healthy and meet any specific goals you have regarding your physical or mental wellbeing. They’ll know your medical history, what things you’ve tried for chronic pain, which medications you’ve been on, and more.
Look at urgent care as a place to go when your family doctor is completely booked, or you need to be seen while your primary doctor is closed.
We get it. Not everyone has insurance, access to a quality doctor’s office, or time for regular checkups with the same doctor. And that’s ok!
An increasingly popular solution is speaking to an online doctor for non-emergency health concerns. Virtual doctors are an affordable and convenient option for ongoing healthcare needs and urgent care needs alike.
EverydayDr is proud to be affiliated with award-winning telehealth company PlushCare. PlushCare has board-certified online doctors available for appointments every day. Their physicians are no different than the ones you’d see in person, but they’re a lot more convenient! PlushCare’s doctors specialize in virtual primary care, when you become a member you can choose a top doctor to be your primary care provider and meet with the same doctor whenever you need care.
Get convenient, affordable and reliable care online by booking your appointment here.
Since we all know the horrors of emergency room costs, it’s safe to wonder, “Is urgent care more expensive than primary care?” Believe it or not, the pricing between urgent care and a primary care office is fairly similar. The main difference is insurance coverage. Not all insurance carriers will cover urgent care facilities.
Depending on your deductible and copay, you may walk out of your primary care office paying nothing out of pocket. Primary care offices usually bill your insurance carrier first. Then, if some of the bills are not covered, they will be sent to you for payment. Urgent care, by contrast, often requires same-day payment, and not all of them offer payment plans
Sometimes urgent care clinics allow for later billing, but you’ll usually find that you need to pay at the end of your appointment.
Thankfully, urgent care visits cost on average between $70 and $120 – far cheaper than visiting an emergency room for things like:
If you go into an urgent care clinic for a sore throat and get tests done that show you’re positive for strep throat, you’ll then be given a prescription to help fight the infection. The visit, tests, and medication can quickly add up to a few hundred dollars. Generally, primary care is more cost-effective than urgent care, but the convenience of a quick appointment with urgent care is sometimes necessary in certain cases.
Yes and no––urgent care centers are usually able to treat more intense conditions and ailments than a walk-in clinic. You can’t walk into a walk-in clinic and get a broken bone cast, but urgent care can get the job done.
The main similarity here is the convenience and the ability to be seen right away. Either of these options is probably a safe bet if you need to:
One is not necessarily better than the other, but both work better in different circumstances.
If you need fast treatment for a non-life-threatening medical concern, you’re better off at urgent care. If you want to monitor your health over time and have a doctor who knows your history and can take you in for a non-emergency appointment, go to your primary care doctor’s office.
Online doctors can help in many situations, whether getting a prescription fast or getting your questions answered about general health.
Through our sister site PlushCare, you can book an appointment with a quality board-certified physician who can help with both your urgent care and primary care needs.
PlushCare’s doctors have an average of 15 years experience and are highly trained to treat medical conditions that you’d traditionally go to your primary care doctor or urgent care for.
EverydayDr is proud to be affiliated with PlushCare because they not only make healthcare more accessible, but they provide reliable care when you need it, successfully treating 97% of conditions on the first visit.
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Book a virtual appointment with our award-winning telehealth partner PlushCare. PlushCare successfully treats 97% of conditions on the first visit.See a Doctor Now