No one wants to get sick or injured, but it happens. If it happens to you, it might be in your best interests to look for a good walk-in clinic near you instead of hoofing it to the emergency room. That said, let's face it: there are some instances in which the ER should be your first and only choice. If you've cut off your hand in a garden accident, have fallen and knocked yourself unconscious, or are experiencing a heart attack, you need to be in a hospital. If the injuries or illness you're experiencing are of a less important and serious nature, however, there are many benefits to choosing to go elsewhere.
If you've heard that a walk-in clinic can not provide you with a professional level of care, someone lied to you. While it's true that you are better off in an ER if you have a life threatening condition, the doctors at urgent care are just as equipped to diagnose your cold, give you a flu shot, and wrap up that sprained ankle.
Lower Wait Times
Unless you live in an area with an extremely popular walk-in clinic, you are almost guaranteed to get faster service there than at the emergency room. The reason for this is simple. These establishments typically take their patients on a first come, first served basis. This is not how the ER works, in case you were wondering. If you arrive at the ER in the morning and heart attack patient after heart attack patient comes in the doors after you, it's absolutely possible that you will never get seen. Hospitals, by design, must serve the most serious injuries and illnesses first. Your strep throat will have to wait.
If you are on an insurance plan, the cost of visiting a walk-in clinic versus going to the emergency room may be negligible. If you are not insured, however, the cost of going to the ER will be astronomical in some cases. In fact, depending on how serious your condition is, they may refuse to see you at all. The price of visiting most private facilities on the other hand, will be at least 50% cheaper, and often much less than that. If price is an object, you should definitely consider going to an urgent care facility as opposed to the ER.
Under some circumstances, going to the emergency room or waiting for a doctor's appointment just makes sense. For all other circumstances, a walk-in clinic may be your best bet.