What Is the Difference Between a Walk-in Clinic and an Urgent Care Clinic?


Quick Answer

A walk-in clinic is designed for the underinsured and the uninsured, while an urgent care clinic is for more severe injuries and illnesses that can be more expensive to treat at a regular hospital, says Atlantis Urgent Care. Both types of clinics are becoming more popular than regular emergency rooms.

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Full Answer

A walk-in clinic can be more cost efficient than visiting an emergency room and is intended to treat non-life-threatening conditions, notes Atlantis Urgent Care. Common injures that are treated at a walk-in clinic include minor infections, burns, skin rashes and sprains. An individual may also be able to receive a vaccination, physical examination and pregnancy test at a walk-in clinic. Such clinics operate on a first-come/first-served basis.

Urgent care clinics usually offer extended hours and medical services on weekends, says Atlantis Urgent Care. Services that an individual may find at an urgent care clinic include X-rays, treatment for deep lacerations and broken bones, and IV treatments.

There are some situations where going to the emergency room is better than going to either a walk-in or urgent care clinic, notes Scripps. Such situations include loss of balance, intestinal bleeding, head or eye injuries, serious burns, and constant vomiting. If an individual is ever in doubt about which medical option he should choose, it's best that he go to the emergency room.

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