Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room- What is the key difference?

In simple terms, if you’re suffering from less serious health issues like fever and diarrhea, then you visit an Urgent Care unit. However, if you face critical situations like a serious injury, chest pain, or a severe allergic reaction, you should go to the Emergency Room for the right treatment.  
When to go to Urgent Care

Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room- What is the key difference?

This is suitable for most “non-emergency” situations like minor headaches, cuts, scrapes, etc.  “Such centers provide an economical way to get medical evaluations that do not require immediate life-saving intervention,” says Dr. Thomas Spiegel, Medical Director of Emergency Department, at the University of Chicago Medicine.  84% of urgent care patients can go home within an hour as they don’t usually schedule appointments in advance. Such walk-in clinics are moderately staffed, and most patients do not suffer from severe medical issues. Thus, most patients here can be attended to promptly. 

Additionally, they are usually found at convenient, nearby locations like commercial plazas. In short, urgent care clinics are same-day clinics that can handle a variety of medical problems. Problems like vomiting, diarrhea, a bad cold (without chills and fever), minor bone breaks, etc., need immediate treatment but are not considered true emergencies.  According to 2012 statistics, there are around 9,000 urgent care clinics in the U.S, and nearly 40% of these centers are expected to expand their existing site or add another location soon. They are generally open seven days a week and have a shorter waiting time than an ER.

When to go to an Emergency Room

As the name states, such centers are perfect for “emergency situations.” If you’re suffering from life-threatening conditions like a stroke, head trauma, or a severe case of flu, allergies, or grievous injuries, you should immediately visit your nearest ER. Unlike urgent care, emergency rooms are better equipped to handle severe illnesses. They are better staffed with board-certified physicians and registered nurses who specialize in dealing with emergencies that require rapid or advanced treatments, such as surgery. ERs provide 24-hour emergency care, including on weekends and national holidays. According to 2011 statistics, the U.S has over 4000 emergency rooms. In 2010, 50% of urban hospitals reported that ERs are “at” capacity or “over” capacity. As per the 2016 statistics, there were over 145 million visits to hospital emergency rooms, and not all of them required the level of care offered in an ER.


Keep in mind that urgent care centers provide affordable medical assessments for cases that don’t require immediate life-saving intervention. In 2011, the average cost of an urgent care clinic visit was about $184.55, whereas that of an emergency room was about $969. 

If you are suffering from any health issues or conditions that require urgent medical care, please visit us at the 8 to 8 Urgent Care Clinic. We are a renowned walk-in clinic in Oceanside, CA. We are open to serve you on all weekdays from 8 AM to 8 PM. Our skilled and professional medical practitioners are always ready to help you with all conditions needing immediate care. For more information, please visit our website.


8-2-8 Urgent Care

8-2-8 Urgent Care, based in Oceanside, California is a state-of-the-art urgent care and walk-in clinic that provides immediate medical care to all your regular healthcare needs. We are an emergency urgent care facility capable of treating everything from minor illness, like a fever or flu, to the more severe illnesses and injuries such as fractures and lacerations, to work related injuries and pediatric urgent care needs. We have an all equipment ready lab that's able to provide immediate test results and we are open every day, including the holidays.

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