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How to Choose Between Primary Care and Convenient Care

April 18, 2019

More and more convenient care clinics are opening up. That’s because mobile-savvy patients are demanding more convenient care experiences. But sometimes, when you’re feeling sick, it might be tough to tell if you need to see your primary care physician instead.

When you’re sick or hurt you want the highest quality medical care that’s available. But your busy schedule can make it tough sometimes, and waiting for an appointment with your family physician or primary care doctor isn’t always an option.

Which location you choose could save you time, money and make a big difference in the type of treatment you receive. It’s up to you to gauge the severity of your symptoms or health condition. Understanding the differences will help you determine if you should be treated by your primary care physician or at a convenient care clinic.

When to Choose Primary Care

Primary care is set up to take an in-depth look at a wide range of medical conditions. Think family medicine: It’s less convenient and it often involves lab tests and other primary care services (like internal medicine). Take a look at our patient care checklist. Use it as a quick reference guide for the type of medical services that your primary care will provide.

As popular as convenient care is becoming, there is still a need for primary care. In fact, a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found American adults with primary care physicians are more likely to receive “high value” services compared to those without primary care. These include:

  • Regular cancer screenings
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Diabetes checkups
  • Counseling

In other words, to stay healthy, picking a good primary care physician is key.

When To Choose Convenient Care

A convenient care clinic is equipped to handle many minor emergencies or illnesses but may cost a little more. Depending on your insurance plan, you’ll pay a little more for the convenience. You will be seen right away and don’t need an appointment. Here’s a quick look at when to consider convenient care.

Keep in mind that infants will need more immediate medical attention for routine symptoms like fevers. And a convenient care clinic won’t be able to handle emergencies like an urgent care facility. But the staff will send you to an emergency room if they feel your condition is too severe to treat.

It can be tricky deciding what’s best. To help you sort it out, we’re providing this checklist “Convenient Care, Primary Care, & ER.” It’s a detailed reference guide designed to help you make an informed decision on what type of health care you need.

 Know Where to Go Comparison Chart