Most of the time, injuries and illnesses occur out of nowhere – you trip and fall on a flight of stairs, your child spikes a high fever on a Saturday, or the cold you’ve been nursing all week gets drastically worse. Should you head to an urgent care clinic or a hospital emergency room?
Knowing where to go for help can be confusing when these events happen.
What’s the difference between an urgent care clinic and an ER?
Unless a condition is life-threatening, an urgent care clinic is generally a better option for infections, fevers, injuries, and other illnesses. Urgent care clinics are the middle ground between your primary care provider and the emergency room.
Urgent care centers have shorter wait times than ERs and cost much less than a traditional hospital emergency room visit. Many centers, like Integrity Urgent Care, offer convenient benefits like walk-in appointments and onsite x-ray.
We treat a variety of conditions at Integrity, but common reasons to visit urgent care clinics include:
- Colds, flu, fever, viruses
- Upper respiratory infections
- Earaches and ear infections
- Sprains and minor fractures
- Cuts, scrapes, wounds, burns
- Sports and work-related injuries
Our urgent care clinics are open daily and have board-certified physicians with ER experience who can test and treat both adult and pediatric patients. We provide onsite X-rays and labs and can order MRI, CT, and ultrasound imaging if needed.
Hospital ERs treat life-or limb-threatening health conditions that require immediate medical attention. They are staffed 24/7 with physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses trained in delivering emergency care. An ER team has quick access to providers in advanced specialties like Cardiology, Neurology, and Orthopedics.
Symptoms or health issues that may require an ER visit include:
- Chest pain or difficulty breathing
- Slurred speech
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Severe dizziness
- Head injuries, loss of consciousness, fainting, or seizures
- Vision problems like double vision or loss of vision
- Fever with a rash
- Compound fracture (bone protruding through the skin)
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Severe abdominal pain
- Mental health crisis
Should you call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room?
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has helpful guidelines on when to call 911. Paramedics can begin delivering life-saving treatment on the way to the hospital. Call 911, and don’t drive yourself to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Signs of a stroke or heart attack
- A life-or-limb-threatening injury
Why go to an urgent care clinic?
- Wait times are shorter – The average ER patient in Texas waits over 4 hours to be admitted. Most urgent care patients only wait 30 minutes or less to see a provider. At Integrity, you can save time by checking in online.
- They are more affordable – The average urgent care visit costs around $200, while most ER visits cost around $2000 (depending on insurance coverage).
- They take insurance – Most urgent care centers accept insurance. We are in-network with most major insurance providers and Medicare. No insurance? We offer competitive rates so you can get the treatment you need.
- Same diagnostic tools – Urgent care clinics offer many of the same diagnostic tools as ERs. Integrity provides rapid in-house testing with same-day results for RSV, Strep, Flu, and more.
- Many convenient locations – Urgent care clinics often have convenient, nearby locations.
- Virtual healthcare – At Integrity Urgent Care, we provide high-quality virtual visits from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Visit an Integrity Urgent Care Clinic Near You
The next time you or a family member has a non-life-threatening illness or injury, take advantage of the convenience and affordability of an urgent care clinic. For non-emergency medical needs, an urgent care clinic can treat you faster – at a fraction of the cost.
Integrity Urgent Care, part of the Xpress Wellness family, is a Texas-based urgent care clinic with 15 convenient locations. Our medical providers have ER experience and are committed to helping patients avoid unnecessary ER visits. Find a location near you and walk in or check in online.