What’s the Difference Between Walk-In and Urgent Care Clinics?


Walk-in and urgent care clinics are being utilized more than ever instead of the traditional emergency room or even a doctor’s office. Although, they share some similarities there are differences between the two facilities and what they might provide.

Walk-In Clinic

Walk-in Clinics are intended to serve the underinsured and uninsured, providing a slightly more affordable option for basic medical treatment services than a visit to a urgent care clinic or emergency room. They are intended to offer treatment for common or non-life-threatening conditions or illness such as the common cold or a bad headache. These can include minor injuries like sprains and burns and minor infections such as pink eye, bladder, sore throat and sinus, skin rashes and upset stomachs. Some clinics may offer vaccinations, routine physicals, STD prevention and pregnancy tests. Convenience is the number one reason most people visit a walk-in clinic because they do not take appointments, care is provided on a first-come/first-served basis. If you are looking for a clinic where you don’t have to make an appointment and can save the most money, a walk-in clinic is probably for you.

Urgent Care Clinic

Urgent care clinics are somewhat similar to walk-in clinics but with enhanced capabilities on site. They can treat more serious injuries and illnesses, and are designed to take some of the financial burdens off more pricy emergency care services. Hours are extended and weekend appointments are usually available. Urgent care clinics use physicians and can administer IVs, provide x-rays, and treat minor to moderate severe trauma for non life threatening conditions such as deep lacerations or broken bones. If you like the feeling of knowing you will get seen in a reasonable amount of time and want a place that’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for scheduling an appointment for medical care, then an Urgent Care Clinic is probably for you.

In conclusion, walk-in clinics can help you if you are in need of care during regular business hours, have minor to moderate injuries and illnesses and don’t have time to schedule an appointment. Urgent care clinics can help you if you are in need of care for more serious injuries or illnesses, they are available 24/7 and appointment setting is available. If you are experiencing a cold or something minor during regular business hours of the day, either can service your illness but might have a slight variance in the price.