Urgent Care vs Primary Care

Urgent Care vs Primary Care

by Stephanie Meadows

It is very common that people become confused with the difference between Urgent Care and Primary Care doctor’s offices. Who do you see regularly? Which one usually has the convenience of extended hours and no appointments necessary? Where do you go for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure? With different scopes of practice to remember between the two, it’s easy to get mixed up when trying to decide where to go. To clear up some of the confusion, here is a guide to lead you to the right place.

Urgent Care

Urgent Care can also be referred to as immediate care, and bridges the gap between an injury that’s too urgent to wait for the primary care physician and a life-threatening situation that calls for a trip to the emergency room. Urgent care centers are usually open after normal business hours, including evenings and weekends. Many offer on-site diagnostic tests, and in most situations you'll find that you save time and money by going to urgent care instead of an emergency room. If your condition isn’t life threatening but needs to be taken care of right away, then urgent care may be the right choice for you. Urgent care can help you with common conditions such as:

  • Minor bumps and bruises
  • Sprains and strains
  • Rash or other skin irritations
  • Mild asthma
  • Animal bites
  • Broken bones
  • Flu and cold
  • Coughs and sore throat
  • High fevers
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
  • Cuts and severe scrapes
  • Minor injuries and burns
  • Sports injuries

Primary Care

“No one knows you like your family doctor,” is a statement that most people can agree with. Not to say a doctor at an Urgent Care clinic doesn’t know your past medical history or current medications, but your primary care doctor often has years of weight gain or loss, blood pressure, blood tests, and illness history right there on file. They know your full medical history and often intimately understand your health and your healthcare goals. A doctor in a family practice will talk through issues like nutrition and stress management, and take the time to review your latest blood-work results with you.

You should visit a primary care center for illnesses such as:

  • Colds, flu, and sore throats
  • Minor injuries
  • Aches, and pains
  • Routine health exams/check ups
  • Follow up visits

If you would like more information about urgent and primary care, call Colonial Healthcare at (803) 773-5227 to request an appointment.