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How To Decide Between Urgent Care and the ER

May 10, 2024

How To Decide Between Urgent Care and the ER

When faced with an injury or sudden illness, the choice between going to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic can be more complex than one might think. While both provide essential medical services, they cater to different situations and medical needs. Read on to learn more about the capabilities and benefits of our urgent care clinics and the ER so you can make the right choice the next time you or a loved one experience a sudden injury or illness.

Urgent Care

Midwest Express Clinic serves as a middle ground between emergency rooms and primary care providers. Our urgent care clinics are designed to handle non-life-threatening medical conditions that require prompt attention. Some key features that differentiate them include:

  • Accessibility: We offer extended hours, such as evenings and weekends, making them easily accessible when primary care providers may not be available. All of our locations accept walk-in appointments, which allows patients the convenience of getting medical care on their schedule.
  • Range of services: We can handle a wide range of non-life-threatening conditions, such as minor cuts, fevers, sprains and infections. Our clinics are also equipped to provide diagnostic services like lab testing and X-rays, which allows for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
  • Shorter wait times: Patients who visit Midwest Express Clinic can expect shorter wait times compared to emergency rooms. Given that the ER prioritizes life-threatening injuries and illnesses, patients who visit the ER with a mild condition or minor injury will have to wait longer for service.
  • Cost-effective care: Typically, urgent care visits are more cost-effective for non-emergency issues than a trip to the ER. Our clinics accept various forms of health insurance, which helps reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Emergency Rooms

Emergency rooms serve as the frontline of critical medical care, designed to address life-threatening conditions. Primary features of the ER include:

  • 24/7 availability: Emergency rooms are open every day of the year and operate around the clock. The ER is capable of handling any medical crisis that requires immediate attention. From heart attacks and strokes to major bleeding and severe trauma, the ER has the advanced technology and expert medical staff capable of delivering life-saving interventions.
  • Triaging process: When patients arrive at the ER, they undergo a triage process to assess the severity of their medical condition. Patients with the most critical health needs receive priority care, ensuring that the hospital’s resources are allocated effectively to save lives. For example, a patient presenting chest pain would have a higher priority over upper respiratory symptoms.
  • Higher costs: Due to the level of care provided and the overhead costs associated with running an emergency facility, receiving care at the ER is usually more expensive than at urgent care clinics. However, when it comes to dealing with life-threatening medical conditions, the priority is on immediate treatment.

Deciding Between Urgent Care and the ER

Knowing when to visit an urgent care versus an emergency room is essential to ensure you’ll receive the medical care required. For minor injuries and illnesses, mild allergic reactions and other non-life-threatening conditions, you can visit one of our 40+ urgent care clinics across Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. Patients having trouble breathing, showing signs of stroke or heart attack, experiencing uncontrolled bleeding or any other life-threatening emergencies should go to the nearest ER.

By understanding the differences between these facilities, you can make informed decisions about where to seek medical care. At Midwest Express Clinic, we provide prompt medical attention for non-life-threatening conditions and offer a wide spectrum of comprehensive healthcare services, all available on your schedule. To find urgent care near you, visit

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