Is Urgent Care The Same As A Walk-in Clinic?
If you are in search of an urgent care or a walk-in clinic, Minit Medical Urgent Care welcomes patients for both. For more information, please call us or book an appointment. We have convenient locations to serve you in Kahului HI, Kihei HI, and Lahaina HI.
What is the difference between an urgent care and a walk-in clinic?
Urgent care and walk-in clinics function in much the same way – they both accept patients on a walk-in basis without requiring scheduled appointments. There are, however, some key differences.
Urgent care centers
These facilities are designed to handle illnesses or injuries more serious than those of a walk-in clinic and provide patients with more cost-effective services than a hospital or emergency room. It is important to note, however, that any situation that is either life-threatening or risks long-term or permanent disability should be dealt with at an emergency room and not at an urgent care clinic.
Urgent care centers typically have at least one medical doctor on staff, along with nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, and a physician is available to see patients whenever they are open; they usually have X-ray and laboratory services on site.
These centers were originally intended as a healthcare option for people who didn’t have insurance or were under-insured. Nowadays, there are thousands of clinics providing basic medical services to people on a walk-in basis. This could be an urgent care, a retail clinic, or even an emergency room and as long as the patient has the means to pay or has insurance cover (with the exception of the emergency room), they will be seen and treated as needed.
Walk-in clinics provide a more affordable option for basic medical care than urgent cares or emergency rooms and are often staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Walk-in clinics generally offer a ‘first come, first served’ approach and can often be found in convenient locations such as pharmacies and retail areas.
What can a walk-in clinic treat?
Walk-in clinics are a convenient and cost-effective alternative to primary care clinics, urgent care centers or emergency rooms for people who don’t have a primary care provider and need same-day medical treatment. Walk-in clinics commonly provide treatment for minor illnesses or injuries that would be inappropriate for urgent care or emergency room, such as:
- Colds and influenza
- Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
- Ear infections
- Flu shots and vaccinations
- Minor fractures, sprains, and strains
- Minor burns, cuts, and lacerations
- Physical examinations
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Sinus infections
- Sore throat/strep throat
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
What to expect at an urgent care?
Urgent care clinics provide all the services that a walk-in clinic does, but they also offer on-site X-ray, laboratory and other services. They are able to deal with more serious injuries or illnesses than a walk-in clinic, but less serious than an ER, such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Allergic reactions
- Asthma and bronchitis
- Auto accident injuries
- Dislocations, fractures, sprains, and strains
- Rashes and skin infections
- Strep throat
- Suture removal
- Wound care
Services offered will vary between locations, but some typical examples are:
- Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exams
- Drug testing
- Flu shots and immunizations
- Occupational medicine
- On-site laboratory and X-ray services
- Tuberculosis (TB) testing
- Walk-in electrocardiogram (EKG) services
- Wellness shots
- Worker’s compensation injury management and treatment
When should I go to an urgent care and or a walk-in clinic?
The answer to this question is going to depend on the seriousness of the situation. Of course, very serious, life-threatening emergencies should bypass both walk-ins and urgent care and be seen immediately at the emergency room.
As for when to go to either an urgent care or a walk-in clinic, the rule of thumb is:
- Urgent-care centers – these can treat more serious injuries and illnesses than a walk-in clinic and that are not severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER.
- Walk-in clinics – treat common, everyday issues that are non-serious, and can also provide some preventive care services and testing. They should not replace a primary care provider, and any chronic health condition should be overseen by a regular physician.
If you have a need for urgent care services Minit Medical Urgent Care is here to help! For more information, please call us or simply walk in! We serve patients from Lahaina HI, Kahului HI, Kihei HI, Launiupoko HI, Olowalu Hi, Wailuku HI, Kula HI, Makawao HI, Paia HI, Wailea HI, Haiku HI and Waihee-Waiehu HI.