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Difference Between ER and Urgent Care

Difference Between ER and Urgent Care

When you’re feeling under the weather or injured, it can be difficult to decide whether you should go to an emergency room (ER) or an urgent care center. Although both provide medical services quickly, there are a few key differences between them that you should consider when making your decision.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the difference between ER and Urgent Care centers so that you can choose the best option for your medical needs. From how wait times differ to cost considerations and more, we’ll break down what sets these two treatments apart so that regardless of what illness or injury brings you in either door, you know exactly where to turn!

What is ER?

  • ER, or an emergency room is a part of most hospitals responsible for providing immediate medical care to patients with serious illnesses and injuries. ER doctors and nurses are trained in many areas of medicine and some ERs even have specialized critical care teams.
  • ER staff are usually on call 24 hours a day and can provide life-saving treatment when minutes make the difference between life and death.ERs also help coordinate additional tests or referrals to specialists as needed in order to ensure the most appropriate treatment course.
  • ER patients often range from those experiencing minor cuts requiring stitches to those having more major trauma such as car accidents or gunshot wounds. ERs provide lifesaving interventions when most needed and are an important part of our healthcare system.

What is Urgent Care?

Urgent Care centers provide medical care for patients in need of treatment that is not considered to be an emergency but still require swift attention.

  • Urgent Care doctors are available after hours and on weekends, meaning treatment can be accessed conveniently and quickly. Urgent Care centers differ from emergency rooms in that emergency rooms handle more serious conditions such as strokes or heart attacks.
  • Urgent Care centers are great for treating minor issues such as ear infections, the flu, sprains, or lacerations that are not severe enough to warrant a visit to the ER.
  • Urgent Care clinics generally cost less than a trip to the emergency room and offer many of the same treatments. These medical facilities save lives and play a vital role in providing quality healthcare when it’s needed urgently.

Difference Between ER and Urgent Care

ER and Urgent Care are two treatment options within the healthcare landscape that both provide quick access to care, however, they have very different uses.

  • ER visits are intended for major illness or injury and can be used to address life-threatening matters while Urgent Care is typically used for minor illnesses or injuries that require more attention than your primary care physician can provide.
  • ERs boast the capability of providing a greater number of treatments and specialties than Urgent Care centers due to more advanced technology.
  • ERs also offer continuous monitoring by nurses and physicians who are better prepared for cardiac episodes, strokes, and other emergent medical conditions.

Generally speaking, ER visits are more expensive than Urgent Care due to the level of complexity involved in many ER procedures; However, when trouble strikes it is worth it to visit the ER if you don’t feel comfortable with any other option.


ERs and urgent cares are both great places to go for medical care, but there are some key differences between the two. Knowing which one is right for you can help make sure that you get the treatment that you need as quickly as possible.

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