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Walk-in Clinics vs Urgent Care Centers

While going for a medical treatment it is important to identify the type of care needed at that given time. If it is a critical case, then neither the walk-in clinics nor the urgent care centers are of any use. At such times, the hospital ER is the first option to be approached. For a minor ailment like flu and common cold, walk-in clinics are the best options but for a more serious illness, one should choose the urgent care clinic.

In the present times, more and more people are looking towards walk-in clinics and urgent care centers instead of the hospital emergency rooms or even the physician. Even thought both the facilities provide primary medical care, yet there is a slight line of demarcation between the two and what they might offer.

Walk-in Clinics
are designed to treat common ailments like sinus, flu or strep throat. They provide basic primary health care and are staffed by a Nurse Practitioner or at the most Physician’s Assistant. They are authorized to write prescriptions to treat the symptoms. The walk-in clinics are designed to be convenient and low-cost. 

Urgent Care Clinics
are essentially walk-in clinics but serve the patients who are suffering from acute illnesses and injuries and which are beyond the capacities of a regular walk-in clinic. It is open for extended hours and is open for patients with non-life threatening injuries and illnesses. The initial urgent care clinics were opened in 1970s and they have grown in numbers since.

Difference between Walk-in and Urgent Care Centers:

The main difference between the two lies in the cost of the treatment. The walk-in clinics cost less as compared to the latter.

The services provided between the two are also slightly different as both the places serve two slightly different medical cases.
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