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What’s the Difference Between Urgent Care and Primary Care?

Urgent Care vs. Primary Care: What's the Difference? | Crimson Care | Tuscaloosa, Alabama

If you’re in need of a doctor but can’t figure out if urgent care or primary care is right for you, Dr. Peramsetty is here to help explain the difference between these two forms of health care.

While there are some overlapping similarities between urgent care and primary care, there are a few key differences that set these two apart, which can make a world of difference when receiving your medical care.

What is Urgent Care?

Urgent care is where you go when you need immediate assistance for a non-life threatening condition, disease, or accident. (If you are seriously hurt, injured, or are suffering from a life threatening condition, we urge you to visit the emergency room rather than urgent care.)

Unlike primary care, there is no need to schedule an appointment, yet you often receive the same level of care as if you were visiting your primary care provider. At Crimson Care, our urgent care clinic is on a walk-in basis only, and our physicians are trained to handle anything that walks through the door.

Additionally, in most cases, urgent care clinics offer extended hours during the week and are typically open on weekends, as well as holidays. Our urgent care clinic in Tuscaloosa is open seven days a week, and we have extended hours during the week to accommodate for the varying work and lifestyles of our patients.

When Should You Visit an Urgent Care Clinic?

There are certain situations in which you should choose to visit an urgent care clinic over the emergency room and your primary care provider. At Crimson Care, our urgent care clinic in Tuscaloosa is ready to help with:

  • Acute and Minor Burns

  • Breaks and Sprains

  • Earache, Fever, Cold, Flu, and Allergies

  • Vomiting and Diarrhea

  • Pediatrics and Geriatrics

  • Sinus Infections

  • Insect Bites and Rashes

  • Minor Surgical Procedures

  • School Physicals

  • Workman’s Compensation

  • Back Pain

  • Internal Medicine

  • Women’s Health

  • STI Testing

What is Primary Care?

Unlike urgent care, primary care is meant to be your long-term care option in which you establish a relationship with your doctor who you know, trust, and feel comfortable sharing your health details with.

In this case, you have a primary care physician who understands your medical history and can provide an elevated level of personalized medical care due to their long-standing history with you. When you need to have a standard exam performed, prescriptions refilled, vaccinations administered, or a non-emergency appointment made, primary care is the ideal option. Compared to urgent care, primary care visits will always require an appointment; walk-ins are generally not accepted.

When Should You Visit Your Primary Care Provider?

Here are some various circumstances in which you should make an appointment with your primary care provider:

  • Annual Physical Exams

  • Vaccinations

  • Prescription Refills

  • Specialist Referrals

  • Preventive Care

  • Treatment for Chronic Illnesses

  • Lab Work

What are the Key Differences Between Urgent Care and Primary Care?

While both urgent care and primary care have the same goal of ensuring the health and wellness of individuals, urgent care is your best choice when you need to visit a medical professional for a non-life threatening condition and cannot get an appointment to see your primary care provider.

For example, if you come down with a stomach bug on a weekend and need immediate medical care, urgent care is likely your best option, as it is typically open on the weekends, whereas your primary care clinic may not be.

On the other hand, if you need ongoing care to help maintain your health and prevent any health issues, primary care is right for you.

Urgent Care and Primary Care in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

If you are seeking urgent care and primary care services in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, trust the experienced physicians at Crimson Care. We are equipped to meet all of your urgent and primary care needs with compassionate and comprehensive medical services.



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