Doctor speaking to patient

Primary Care vs. Urgent Care


When you get sick or injured, you may be uncertain about whether you should visit your doctor or an urgent care center. While many people believe urgent care is more convenient than going to your regular primary care physician, there are clear benefits to calling your doctor when non-life-threatening conditions arise. Here's how visiting your doctor can help you get the personalized care you need.

Urgent care vs. primary care

Choosing between urgent versus primary care generally comes down to three factors: 1) quality of care, 2) cost, and 3) convenience.

Pros of going to your primary care physician

  1. Your doctor knows your medical history.

    If you have an established relationship with a primary care physician, his or her familiarity with your health can improve the detection of patterns.
     
  2. The copay for your PCP is often less than that of urgent care centers.

    Depending on your health insurance, urgent care copay may cost more than a regular office visit copay.
  3. You may be able to call your doctor after operational hours.

    Many doctors are willing to talk with established patients after hours to fill prescriptions or address concerning symptoms.
  4. You may get in for a same-day or next-day appointment.

    If you want to receive care as soon as possible, Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group primary care physicians offer same-day or next-day appointments to accommodate patients.

When to go to an urgent care center

If you can't make an appointment to see your doctor quickly for an acute ailment, an urgent care facility may be your best option as they often accept walk-ins. Learn how to evaluate your symptoms to decide if you should visit an urgent care facility or the ER. Not sure? Visit Baylor St. Luke's Emergency & Urgent Care in Pasadena.

If you need a primary care physician, connect with Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group to find a doctor for you and your family.

 

Sources:

Where to Get Medical Care

Health Tip: Pick the Right Family Doctor

BCBS of Texas - Where Should I Go For Care?

BCBS of Texas - Doctor, Retail Clinic, Urgent Care or ER?

NPR - Can't Get In To See Your Doctor? Many Patients Turn To Urgent Care 

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