Hospital vs. Urgent Care vs. Clinic: What’s the Right Choice?

While the appropriate response to waking up in the middle of the night with crushing chest pain is easy to determine, every unexpected ache does not require a visit to the emergency room. Less obvious symptoms like headaches may only require direct primary care or a virtual visit. However, direct primary care may be unavailable when symptoms occur, such as during evenings, weekends or holidays. So how do you decide between seeking a visit to the hospital, urgent care or clinic? Read on to find out which may be the right choice for you.

Hospitals: Your First Choice for Emergencies

When you experience discomfort, it is easy to think of calling someone you are most comfortable with to solve the problem; when it comes to medical issues, that person is usually your direct primary care physician. They are the ones who are most familiar with your medical history and you already have an established relationship with them. However, they may not be available when you need them or, depending on your condition or symptoms, they may refer you to another specialist who is better equipped to assist you. 

Urgent Care: Convenient When Direct Primary Care is Unavailable

If you can’t get to your primary care physician, urgent care may be the right choice. Urgent care centers offer many of the same services you can expect from a visit to your direct primary care provider, in addition to outpatient testing. If you are experiencing episodic but minor issues, urgent care is a convenient option that serves as a happy medium between a visit to your family doctor and the emergency room. Urgent care centers can assist you with:

Keeping this in mind, it is wise to call ahead if you are planning to visit urgent care to make sure your concern can be accommodated; the level of care you will receive depends on how many staff members are available, as well as their expertise. 

Family Health Clinics: Reliable, High-Level Care

Family health clinics are your best option for steady, consistent health care for you and your family. They offer a diverse range of primary and preventative health care services for both children and adults, and are geared towards creating consistent treatment plans for optimal results. If your symptoms do not warrant an emergency trip to the hospital or to urgent care, family health clinics are the preferred option. 

Prioritize Your Health with Richfield Medical Group 

At Richfield Medical Group, our primary care clinicians provide personalized care to our patients in the Minnesota community. We take a personal and proactive approach to improving and maintaining our patients’ health. From virtual visits and testing to preventative care, our dedicated medical staff prioritizes the health of you and your loved ones. If you would like more information on virtual visits, primary health care or family health clinics, please contact us today