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Urgent care clinics and emergency rooms function in similar ways but also have key differences in the way they provide medical care. As such, it can sometimes be confusing to know whether you should visit an urgent care clinic or an emergency room department for your medical concern. At AFC Urgent Care, our medical doctors can provide medical care for health concerns that are not life-threatening. We can also let you know when it is better to visit an emergency room and when you should come to an urgent care clinic!
In many cases, urgent care clinics can provide medical attention faster than emergency rooms. Like emergency rooms, urgent care clinics conduct patient evaluations for each patient upon arrival to determine if each patient should see a doctor immediately or if they can wait in line. With that being said, urgent care clinics can see many patients on a first-come, first-served basis with much more frequency than emergency rooms because they do not see patients with life-threatening medical emergencies. In this way, urgent care clinics can see patients with less critical medical concerns faster than emergency rooms, which prioritize patients according to the severity of their condition.
The primary difference between urgent care clinics and emergency departments is that urgent care clinics are not sufficiently equipped to treat life-threatening medical emergencies, while emergency departments exist primarily to provide life-saving medical care for patients dealing with life-threatening medical emergencies. As such, urgent care clinics cater to individuals dealing with mild to moderate medical emergencies, while emergency rooms prioritize treating individuals who are dealing with life-threatening medical emergencies.
There are numerous occasions when going to an urgent care clinic is more beneficial than going to the emergency room. However, urgent care clinics are not always the better option, as emergency rooms are the only medical facility that can provide treatment for life-threatening medical emergencies. With that in mind, the only time it is better to go to the emergency room is if you are experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency. For any other medical concern, an urgent care clinic is likely a better option.
Some signs that you should go to the emergency room instead of an urgent care clinic include the following:
If you are not dealing with a life-threatening medical emergency, there can be many benefits of going to an urgent care clinic instead of an emergency room. Not only do urgent care clinics have shorter wait times on average, but their services are also much less expensive than emergency rooms. Since emergency rooms prioritize patients according to the severity of their condition, patients with less critical medical concerns can end up spending long hours in the waiting room of emergency departments. In this way, you will save both time and money by visiting an urgent care clinic instead of an emergency department for any medical concern that is not a life-threatening emergency.
For an appointment with us at AFC Urgent Care or more information about urgent care and emergency rooms, we welcome you to call us or visit our clinic at 13400 Clemson Blvd in Seneca, South Carolina, for a walk-in appointment. We serve patients from Clemson, Anderson, Boiling Springs, Duncan, Easley, Greenwood, and Powdersville.
With state-of-the-art centers and a professional medical team, AFC provides on-site X-rays, labs, procedures, and more!
Urgent care is for medical conditions that require prompt attention but do not pose an immediate threat to your health or life. Here is a simple rule of thumb: if your medical issues(s) are life threatening, call 911, or go directly to a hospital emergency room. If not, an urgent care center such as AFC is an excellent alternative.