We hear a lot of confusion about when it’s best to go to urgent care and when it’s better to go to the emergency room. But what about making a choice between urgent care and your regular doctor’s office? Some people assume that your personal physician is always the best way to go, but there are times when it makes a lot more sense to go to your closest urgent care location instead of calling your doctor to squeeze you in. 

Why go to urgent care instead of your normal doctor?

  • After Hours Medical Care: One of the main reasons people will go to urgent care instead of their doctor’s office is that urgent care clinics offer extended hours. That means you can seek out effective treatment late into the evening — and sometimes 24 hours a day, seven days a week! In fact, 27% of U.S. patients said they visited an urgent care center between 2014 and 2016. Each facility is a bit different in terms of their operating hours, but there’s no doubt that an urgent care clinic will be able to offer you effective treatment during times of the day in which your doctors’ office will be closed. If you sustain a sports injury in a weekend game or your child becomes feverish at 9 PM, your walk-in clinic will be there to help.
  • No Appointment Necessary: When you visit your doctor, you have to make an appointment. And if your physician has a lot of patients and it’s a particularly rough season for illnesses and injuries, you might not be seen for days or even weeks! That’s just plain inexcusable, whether you have a small problem or an underlying injury that will only get worse the longer you wait. While you certainly can call ahead to secure an appointment at an urgent care clinic, you definitely don’t have to. You’ll likely experience very short wait times when you visit urgent care even without making an appointment beforehand. Because injuries and illnesses happen when you least expect them, it’s best to obtain fast treatment without having to jump through hoops.
  • Comparable Costs and Services: You might not realize that your local urgent care center can offer many of the same treatments, services, and costs you’ll receive when you visit your regular physician. It may end up being even more of a one-stop shop than your doctor’s office is! That’s because many urgent care facilities offer laboratory services, vaccinations, and other types of testing. And while every facility will work with different insurance providers, it’s likely that many of the costs you’ll incur at urgent care will be quite comparable to what you’d pay when you visit your doctor for the same treatments.
  • Convenient Locations: Why go to urgent care when you’re familiar with your doctor’s office? Well, there may be several urgent care locations that are even closer to where you currently are. Whether you’re in the next town over or are in a totally different state, you shouldn’t have to make a trek back to your doctor’s inconvenient location just to receive the treatment you need. With so many urgent care options, you can find one that’s close by your home, your office, your school, or wherever life takes you.

A lot of people wonder, “why go to urgent care when I have my own doctor?” We absolutely encourage having a regular physician, but that doesn’t mean your doctor will always provide the most convenient options at any given moment. When you need high-quality care quickly, your closest urgent care center might be your best bet.