Urgent Care vs. Emergency Care

Where should you go?

By: Dr. George L. Franklin

The concept of urgent care clinics is a fairly new one that has gained popularity within the past 25 or so years. Consequently, there is often confusion regarding where one should go: the urgent care center or the emergency room. Unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules to follow, but I hope this article will provide some guidelines.

Typically, urgent care centers are staffed with generalists, doctors or mid-level providers with a breadth of training that prepares them to treat a wide-ranging set of health problems in the pediatric, adult and geriatric populations. Most urgent care centers are open late, on weekends and most holidays, and offer onsite laboratory and X-ray services. Some, like Promptu, also offer supplemental services such as occupational health and workers’ compensation, sports physicals and immunizations.

For small lacerations, simple sprains or fractures with no protruding bones, fevers, flu and many instances of nausea or diarrhea, the urgent care center will ably diagnose and treat you, often with less wait and lower costs than a trip to the ER.

Conversely, emergency rooms are staffed with physicians who are trained to evaluate and treat serious life- or limb-threatening illnesses or injuries, and equipped with an expansive assortment of apparatus to diagnose those types of ailments. Emergency rooms are also generally open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While the physicians and staff at the ER are certainly capable of treating a wide range of complaints from minor to life-threatening, you pay a premium for that kind of access and availability that is, on average, three times higher than what you can expect to pay at an urgent care center.

While you should not go to an urgent care facility solely to save a few dollars, you also should not have to choose between your physical and financial well-being when you need to see the doctor. Urgent care centers provide a cost-effective alternative to a lengthy ER visit, and supplement your primary care physician’s services with longer hours and the ability to see walk-ins immediately. This keeps costs down for the patient, improves the delivery of high-quality care and reduces wait times for those patients who truly need the services an ER provides.

Here at Promptu Immediate Care, we offer high-quality urgent medical care at a significant cost reduction over an emergency room, and generally much quicker, too. Good, fast and cheap – great combination.


In Kohl’s shopping center near Smallcakes
5638 Saratoga Blvd., Ste. 114
Corpus Christi, Texas 78414
P: 361-444-5280
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Across from the mall near Chipotle
4938 S. Staples St., Ste. E-8
Corpus Christi, Texas 78411
P: 361-452-9620
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

George L. Franklin, D.O., is the medical director for Promptu Immediate Care. For more information, please call, come in or visit our website at www.promptucare.com.

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