In recent years, the popularity of Urgent Care centers has grown rapidly. However, this increase in popularity raises important questions about their effectiveness and quality of care. Let’s compare the key differences between Urgent Care facilities and Primary Care medical practices.
Urgent Care: Convenience is often the biggest selling point of an Urgent Care facility. Many are open late in the evening and have weekend hours. Additionally, these centers are often available in commercial locations with ample parking.
Primary Care: To cater to patient needs, many primary care facilities have extended hours. PCG has always maintained extended hours, including Saturdays. We are open until 8 pm Monday through Thursday, until 5 pm on Friday, and typically until 1 pm on Saturday. If a sick patient calls by 10:30 am on Saturday, we will extend Saturday hours to accommodate all sick patients.
CONTINUITY OF CARE
Urgent Care: At Urgent Care facilities, because convenience is the first priority, full medical records are typically not available at the time of visit. It is nearly impossible to have a consistent doctor during visits. According to an interview on the Ambulatory Advisor with Urgent Care physician Richard Wallace, MD, he states Urgent Care Centers “have that retail mindset… treating patients as customers.”
Primary Care: In Primary Care, continuity of care is the first priority. PCG is a Level III Medical Home as recognized by the NCQA – an important certification earned by only the top practices. It prescribes a patient-centered approach, one focused on quality and continuity of care where a relationship is developed between the same provider and patient whenever possible. This cannot happen in an Urgent Care facility.
Urgent Care: According to the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine (AAUCM), “there is no official residency program for urgent care medicine.” Although your child is seeing a trained doctor, they are most likely not seeing a pediatrician.
Primary Care: Primary care physicians do rotations and residencies in their field of choice, and undergo rigorous training to provide the best possible care to the patients in their specialty. PCG doctors are board certified in Pediatric medicine and have years of experience specifically caring for children.
Ask your Pediatric Care Group provider about being a patient centered medical home and what it means to the health and wellbeing of your family.