Emergency Room vs Urgent Care

Talking about the places where people rush for medical care services, the first thing that comes to mind is a hospital.  That is the place where doctors and the other staff deal with all kinds of patients’ different types of situations professionally. Nevertheless, if we make a list for all those locations where a person can visit in case of emergency, many other medical healthcare bodies would occupy the list after hospitals. Two of the main players under the standard heading of medical care services are emergency rooms and urgent care.

Emergency  Room

It could be a room or a whole ward attached to a hospital where patients with severe emergencies are brought for treatment.

Urgent Care

Urgent care is a small clinic that deals with many kinds of medical emergencies except for fatal ones. They were first formed in America during the 1990s. The main reason for forming urgent care centers was to provide primary medical facilities to every citizen. They are necessary for the areas from where hospitals are at a great distance. So to relieve the people from the fatigue of traveling miles to find a hospital in case of any minor emergency, this unique idea of making urgent care centers came into being.

Difference Between Emergency Rooms And Urgent Care

Although both of these bodies are functionally similar, they have many differences if we take a deep look at their services.


As we know that emergency rooms are affiliated with hospitals, so it is clear that they also have professional staff. It has doctors, surgeons, nurses.  Its staff s well trained to deal with situations of emergencies without creating a panic. Senior Specialized doctors for different cases are available to ensure that patient is given the suitable treatment.

The urgent care center has well-trained staff who can handle all emergencies except for fatal emergencies. The staff includes doctors, paramedics, nurses, X-ray machines, and blood test laboratory technicians. Rescue workers can diagnose minor burns, flu, sore throat, cuts, and diabetes. In addition, they are experienced and do not need to know the patient’s medical history. They ask about the symptoms and diagnose the disease. If the patient has a fatal result, and if not treated in time, there are chances that the patient may die. In that situation, the staff immediately refers him to the nearest emergency room.

Services Provided

As mentioned above, emergency rooms primarily treat patients who are in serious situations. So to provide these services, emergency rooms are fully equipped with every kind of machinery and device. They provide the best service to the patients. X-rays, blood tests, ct scans, ventilators, and all the machinery used n between minor examinations and long surgeries are present there.

Urgent care can also provide 70 percent of services provided in a hospital. It usually deals with cases that are of a minor emergency. It can provide services from tiny stitches to Xrays and lab blood tests. Minor nonfatal surgeries are also performed in urgent care.


Both of them deal with cases of different severity. Patients dealing with serious life and death situations are brought to emergency rooms and are treated with complete care. Specialized doctors and staff present are the entire time ready to perform any significant surgeries if needed immediately. The emergencies dealt with are like

  • The injured in a severe accident
  • Patients with multiple broken bones
  • Patients with chronic cardiac arrest
  • Patients with excessive bleeding and blood lost
  • Patients dealing with cancer
  • Patients with a long history of chronic diseases
  • Patients with severe burns
  • Patients having Covid
  • Pregnancy cases etc
  • Emergencies related to infants

The main distinguishing point to note is that the previous medical histories are investigated in emergency rooms.

Urgent care centers deal with cases of minor severity. Nevertheless, it does not mean that it cannot deal with severe cases. Sometimes, patients with some chronic situation are brought to urgent care due to lack of time. So the patient is treated to this extent that he can travel to the hospital without any complications. The types of cases usually dealt with in urgent care centers are usually like

  • Patients have an Asthma attack
  • Minor cuts and bleeding
  • Patients with low or high blood pressure
  • Patients with flu or fever
  • Regular checkups
  • Tooth pain, root canal or BDR
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Headache or migraine etc

No previous medical history is checked in urgent care centers.


Emergency rooms are functional all day and all night. It never closes. The working hours of doctors are scheduled to work alternate morning and night shifts to assure the availability of professionals 24/7.

Urgent care centers are primarily open during working hours that are 9 to 5.  The patients who need medical assistance when urgent care centers are closed directly go to emergency care.


There is a proper procedure followed in emergency rooms. Appointments from doctors are necessary for every patient. Moreover, in emergency rooms, it is not assured that whether a patient would be treated in less time or not. As every case over there is serious, doctors tend to spend enough time on every patient. Patients are treated comparing the severity of their emergency. If there is a patient with multiple bone fractures waiting for his turn and suddenly an ambulance arrives, which takes out another patient having a severe cardiac arrest, obviously the second patient would be treated first so that his life can be saved. In this case, the first patient has to wait and not complain because that is the rule.

Urgent care centers are walk-in health care centers. No appointment is needed. Generally, there is no crowdedness over there, nor anyone has to wait for a long time. Patients are treated based on a first-come, first-serve logic. A patient is treated on average 15 to 45 minutes time span. So it can be said that in urgent care centers a very fast service is provided.


The emergency room is more expensive than urgent care.  It is because of the high-quality treatment provided to patients. Every second in the emergency room is precious. The average expense of visit of emergency care is between $500-$1500.

As compared to the emergency room, the urgent care center is way affordable. Its average visit costs $75-$155, depending upon the severity of the case.


Which one to choose?

Both of these health care facilities are equally important, and both provide very effective treatment. It all depends upon the patient and the severity of their situation. If they are in a severe condition, then the emergency room is the best option. However, suppose the emergency is not that fatal. In that case, it is advised to visit an urgent care center because it can more effectively deal with the situation at a low cost without consuming much time.  Practically, there is no need to go to the emergency room during minor emergencies because it would cost one much money and consume much time in wait for their turn.

So it is better to choose the place according to the emergency.