Your primary care provider is the first person to call when an unexpected health issue arises. After all, most people establish a long-term relationship with their general practice doctor and staff.
But, because illness can strike at any time of the day or night – not just during regular office hours – you may need to visit an urgent care facility. So, what is the difference between the health care offered at each?
Benefits of Primary Care
Primary care providers focus on caring for the gamut of health issues that can affect you and your family. These doctors often are general practitioners or may specialize in family or internal medicine. In addition, some medical practices focus on certain patient demographics such as older adults (geriatrics).
Some of the common conditions treated include:
- Insect bites or stings
- Minor injuries
- Diarrhea, vomiting
- Cold or flu symptoms
- General muscle aches and pains
- Joint swelling or aching
- Ear pain
- Substance irritating the eye
- Digestive problems including food intolerance
In addition, common diagnostic tests such as blood tests, urine tests, and heart rhythm tests (EKGs) can often be performed in-office.
The advantage of having a primary care physician is having a trusted doctor or group of medical professionals who know you. Over the years, this bond grows stronger as you experience ups and downs when it comes to your health, with a familiar doctor at your side.
Benefits of Urgent Care Centers
Because most primary care providers are only available during regular business hours – typically Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm – there is a need for the convenience and availability of health care outside these times, especially if the health issue doesn’t warrant a trip to the emergency room.
Which leads us to primary benefit of urgent care centers: they are typically open on days and hours when primary care practices aren’t. Urgent care centers also save you the time and money of a trip to the ER.
Urgent care centers provide services similar to a primary care medical practice, and usually employ a full staff of physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and technicians.
At Intercoastal Medical Group, we’re a multispecialty practice focusing on primary care and much more. With more than 95 doctors in eight locations across Sarasota and Manatee County, Florida, we make it easy to find a qualified doctor at a location that’s convenient for you. You can request an appointment online now.
And if you have an urgent, nonemergency health problem that arises on a weekend, call ahead for an appointment at one of our convenient Weekend Care Clinics.