Primary Care vs. Urgent Care vs. ER: When to Go Where

Nov 30, 2021 | College Health, Primary Care

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When you need care, it can sometimes be tricky determining if you need to visit your primary care provider, local urgent care or even the emergency department. But determining the best one to visit for your illness or injury can often help you get the care you need quicker.

What is the Difference?

For acute or chronic issues, your primary care provider is your go-to option. Armed with your medical history, your provider will be the most helpful in finding a health solution that fits with your lifestyle, and they can provide you with continuous care to further monitor your condition.

For non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses, your best point of care will be urgent care. Minor cuts, allergic reactions and broken bones could cost you a long wait at the emergency room, but urgent care will be able to accommodate your condition much quicker. 

And lastly, a visit to the emergency room should be reserved for life-threatening illnesses and injuries. If you are experiencing a minor illness or injury, visiting the ER will result in a much longer wait time, as the ER team must first address those with life-threatening conditions. 

Where Should I Go?

Use this quick guide to help you determine which location is the best for your condition. 

Deciding where to go for care: ER or Primary Care or Urgent Care or Video Visit

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