Urgent Care vs. the ER – Knowing Where to Seek Treatment for Illnesses and Injuries

after-hours-clinic-tampa2The healthcare industry is changing and many people are wondering what the best option is for getting affordable, reliable treatment for illnesses and injuries. The debate over whether to seek treatment at an urgent care clinic vs. the ER is one issue that has arisen in recent years due to the increasing popularity of walk-in clinics. Read on to learn more about the benefits of walk-in clinics and the types of conditions that can be treated at these facilities.

In 2006, the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey revealed that only about 13 percent of patients who visited the ER were actually being treated for emergency conditions. The other 87 percent were classified as either “urgent,” “semi-urgent,” or “non-urgent” cases. Using ER facilities and resources for non-emergency cases is just one reason why ER costs and insurance costs have skyrocketed in the past decade. However, by knowing which conditions can be treated at an urgent care clinic vs. the ER, you can utilize your healthcare resources more efficiently and reduce your out-of-pocket treatment costs.

Keep the following guide handy for quick reference when you’re not sure if you or a member of your family should go to an urgent care clinic or the emergency room:

Walk-in Clinic

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Lacerations
  • Asthma attacks
  • Ear and eye infections
  • Non-life threatening allergic reactions
  • Minor burns and rashes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Coughs, sore throats, and colds

Emergency Room

  • Signs of a heart attack, such as severe chest pain
  • Signs of a stroke, such as numbness on one side of the body
  • Difficulty breathing or talking
  • Loss of consciousness or disorientation
  • Loss of vision or blurred vision
  • Severe head trauma
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Severe abdominal pain

If you live in Tampa, Brandon, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or any of the surrounding areas, South Tampa Immediate Care is a reliable walk-in clinic that is open seven days a week. Our facility is fully equipped to treat a variety of non-life threatening conditions, and we also offer on-site X-ray services and lab tests, like urinalysis and blood glucose testing. If you’re unsure whether your particular condition can be treated at our facility, simply contact us at 813-253-2113.