Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room (ER)

If you need prompt treatment for an illness or injury, you may be wondering whether to visit an urgent care center or emergency room (ER). What is the difference between urgent and emergency care, and when should you go to the ER? Keep reading to find out which option is best for your needs.

ER vs. Urgent Care: Which One Is Right for You?

Although urgent care centers are equipped to treat a wide range of health concerns, they’re not the same as ERs, and understanding the difference between the two can help ensure you receive the right type of care. Urgent care centers typically provide treatment for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries, and they’re generally not open 24/7 (although PhysicianOne Urgent Care offers 24/7 telehealth services). ERs, on the other hand, can treat severe, life- or limb-threatening conditions and are usually open all day, every day.

When Should You Go to an Urgent Care Center?

As was noted above, urgent care centers are often a smart choice for patients experiencing non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. At PhysicianOne Urgent Care, we regularly treat non-life-threatening:

Although ERs are also equipped to treat conditions like these, you will save a significant amount of time and money by visiting an urgent care center instead. When compared to urgent care providers, ERs tend to have longer wait times for relatively mild illnesses and injuries because they prioritize treating life-threatening conditions. ERs also charge much higher fees than urgent care practices.

When Should You Go to the ER?

If you suspect that you, your child, or another loved one might be experiencing a life-threatening condition—for example, anaphylaxis, heart attack, stroke, seizure, head or eye injury, spinal injury, partial or total limb amputation, large wound, severe burn, poisoning, or overdose—it’s important that you visit an ER rather than an urgent care center. Conditions like these often require surgery or other complex treatments only administered in a hospital setting. Possible signs of a medical emergency requiring ER treatment include:

  • Abdominal pain (if sudden or severe)
  • Bleeding (if severe or uncontrolled)
  • Blue tongue, lips, or skin
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Confusion or altered mental state
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Headache (if sudden or severe)
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Vision loss

The PhysicianOne Urgent Care Difference

If you’re experiencing a non-life-threatening illness or injury, you can feel confident turning to PhysicianOne Urgent Care for treatment. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Expansive service area – We have urgent care centers across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.
  • Convenience – We treat patients of all ages and offer flexible hours that exceed those of many primary care providers (click here to explore other differences between urgent care providers and PCPs). We’re open 365 days per year with extended hours, and you can choose to walk in or book a visit online.
  • 24/7 availability – If you don’t feel up to leaving the house, you can speak to a local provider remotely using our 24/7 integrated telehealth service.
  • Experienced clinicians – Our providers have all been trained in either emergency, family, or internal medicine.
  • Affordable care – We’re in-network with most major health insurance plans, and we offer reasonable self-pay rates if you’re currently uninsured.

Visit the PhysicianOne Urgent Care location nearest you today to receive professional, fast, and friendly treatment for your non-life-threatening illness or injury.

Important note: If you’re experiencing any signs of a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest ER immediately.

Son kissing mother
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today.
Somers, NY
  • 5.0
  • 4.6