Know Where To Go
Know Where To Go: Primary Care, Urgent Care, or Emergency Room?
Primary Doctor's Office
Your doctor knows you and your health history, including what medications you are taking and what chronic conditions might need to be considered in your treatment. Therefore, your primary doctor should be your first call for all non-emergency situations. Your primary doctor's office is the best place to go for immunizations, preventative and routine care, and if you are feeling sick (non-emergency). Plus, a visit to the emergency room will likely cost far more than the co-pay for a visit to your doctor’s office.
This option can also help you avoid the long wait times typically found in an emergency room. Even if your doctor is unavailable or not an expert in the area of care you need, he or she can refer you to a specialist or another medical professional.
Urgent Care is a good option if you find yourself needing care outside of regular office hours for things like cold or flu symptoms, ear infections, skin conditions, and non-emergency x-rays and cuts. While Urgent Care is a great option when medical issues arise on weekends or after hours, be sure to follow up with your primary care doctor afterwards. Your primary care doctor knows you and your health history the best and can ensure your health is restored or advise any further steps to take.
Emergency rooms are designed to treat urgent, acute and life threatening conditions and aren’t the place for routine care or minor ailments. If you feel you are dealing with a health emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away. Otherwise, one of the above options will save you time and money, and clear the way for patients in need of emergency treatment.