Should I go to the urgent care or the emergency department? It’s a common question and can sometimes be difficult for patients to know the correct answer. Why not just go to the emergency department for everything? Well for one, the emergency department is much more expensive. Average costs of emergency department visits are over $1000 even for simple complaints, where urgent care costs range from $125-$200 on average. Emergency departments really are there to help save lives by treating life threatening emergencies. Seeking care at emergency departments for non-life-threatening conditions can lead to overcrowding and take the valuable medical resources away from those patients who are in severe need of medical help within the next hours to minutes. Many conditions that are treated in emergency departments can be cared for in an urgent care. One study by Truven Health Analytics, (2013) found that up to 70% of emergency department visits could have been treated in an urgent care or even primary care offices. So what conditions are best suited for treatment in an urgent care? Any condition that is not life threatening within the next few hours to days and conditions that do not need advanced imaging studies such as CT scans or emergent ultrasound evaluations. Some examples can be found below.

Emergency Department:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Seizure without history of seizure
  • Fainting or syncope and still not feeling well
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vaginal bleeding in Pregnancy
  • Older adult with head trauma
  • Head trauma and currently taking a blood thinning medication
  • New onset paralysis or trouble speaking
  • Altered Mental Status
  • Rapid onset headache or severe headache with exertion
  • Rapid onset testicular pain
  • Joint dislocation and still out of place
  • Severe fractures with obvious bone deformity or bone extruding from skin.
  • Loss of vision

Urgent Care:

  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Ear ache
  • Toothache
  • Eye pain
  • Mild head injury, concussion
  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Lacerations
  • Abscess
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches with known history of similar headache
  • Nausea and vomiting without severe abdominal pain
  • Rash
  • Infections of skin, urine, eyes etc.
  • Fevers with temperatures less than 103

The great news for Salt Lake area residents is that we are now offering urgent care visits in the comfort of your home. We are able to treat any of the urgent care conditions listed above and we are happy to bring the urgent care clinic to you. Whether you live in Park City, Salt Lake City, Bountiful, Farmington, Ogden or Eden we are here to help.Simply use our Request Visit button or give us a call at 801-686-5898 to book your in-home appointment.



Medica. (2020). Compare care options. Retrieved from

Truven Health Analytics. (2013).



Darrin holds a clinical practicing doctorate degree and two separate nurse practitioner certifications. With over 11 years of medical experience, he has worked in hospital emergency departments, ICUs, interventional radiology suites, on Medevac helicopters, and in ambulances. In addition to his extensive experience, he also has a wide variety of specialized training making him the ideal person to treat urgent and emergent medical conditions.