HCA Midwest Health - December 08, 2017

"There used to be just doctor’s offices and hospitals. Now, there are a million different places to go when you’re sick. How are you supposed to know where to go?"

You’re right. There are many more options for care now then there were in the past, from emergency rooms to urgent care centers and walk-in clinics. Sometimes, too many options can be overwhelming, confusing and have you yearning for simpler times. But these options are meant to make your life easier by making healthcare more convenient.

It’s important to know your options, and the differences between them, so that you can get the care you need. Especially, because some choices may be more expensive than others.

Typically, there are four types of places where you can receive care: A Physician or Doctors Office, a Walk-In Clinic, an Urgent Care or an Emergency Room.

Doctor's office

Doctors Office – Also known as your Primary Care Physician or PCP. Your doctor knows you and your health history. They are your partner in long-term health. See your physician for:

  • Routine checkups
  • Preventive care
  • Treatment for non-urgent or long-term health issues

Walk-in clinic

Walk-In Clinic – An example is Walgreens Healthcare Clinic®. These clinics usually have extended hours and are open on weekends. If your doctor is not available, a walk-in clinic can treat common conditions, such as:

  • Sinus infection
  • Flu
  • Strep throat

Urgent care clinic

Urgent Care – An example is CareNow®. These care sites usually have extended hours and are open on weekends and holidays. If your doctor is not available, an urgent care clinic can treat a more serious illness or non-life-threatening injury that needs more immediate attention, such as:

  • Sprains or strains
  • Simple fractures
  • Flu and colds
  • Minor infections
  • Cuts that may need stitches
  • And much more…

Emergency room

Emergency Room (ER) – They are open 27/4. The ER should be used for serious, life-threatening issues, such as:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Sudden or severe pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness or changes in vision
  • Changes in mental status, such as confusion
  • Broken bones or complex fractures

For help figuring out where to go or to find a doctor near you, call (800) 386-9355.