Nowadays, you have a variety of options when it comes to health care. You can try and get an appointment with your regular doctor and then sit and wait there; you can go to an urgent care clinic or head to your local pharmacy and see how much they charge for the nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to diagnose and treat you. While there are positives and negatives to each choice, you need to be prepared and while you will not use both for the same ailment, you can certainly use both for a variety of health care needs.
When it comes to long term health and chronic conditions, a primary care physician is the way to go. By having a regular doctor, you have someone you can turn to for most of your medical issues. They can prescribe medicine for whatever ails you. They can send you to specialists and order blood work. In addition, a primary care physician knows your entire medical history. They know about all of the medications you take daily, as well as any supplements. This is important so that interactions do not occur. Primary care doctors are the ones to turn to when you need a check up or when your ailment can wait. A primary care physician is part of your overall health management and prevention plan. They are important for both your present and future health.
An urgent care clinic is a good place to turn when your doctor is unavailable. If you are hurt or sick after hours or on the weekend, a good place to turn is an urgent care center. The medical practitioners at these facilities are trained to help you if you are too sick or hurt to wait for your doctor’s office to reopen and you do not need the assistance of the emergency room. You do not need an appointment and can often call ahead to minimize your wait time. They can treat anything from the flu to a burn to a broken bone, since most of these centers have x ray machines.
An urgent care clinic will not treat a major emergency such has a heart attack or a gunshot wound. For these and similar issues, you should head to the emergency room or dial 911 and have an ambulance assist you. In addition, these facilities also will not treat chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or thyroid problems. As mentioned above, these are meant for a physician that you have a relationship with to treat since they usually have more information about you than the urgent care facility does.
If cost is an issue, contact your insurance company to find out if there is any difference between going to your regular doctor or an urgent care clinic. If you do not have insurance, then it is often cheaper to go to an urgent care clinic. However, you may want to check their website or call ahead for prices to ensure that is true. In any case, the emergency room is always the priciest option when it comes to healthcare.