From Urgent Care Centers to Walk-In Clinics, Which One is Right for You?

June 3, 2016

From urgent care centers to walk-in clinics, trips to the family doctor or emergency room visits – there are more healthcare options to choose from than ever before. And while having more choices is definitely a plus, Harris Regional Hospital realizes that it also can be confusing when it comes to selecting the right option at the right time.

“Knowing who to call or where to go is critical in ensuring the ongoing health and well-being of our communities,” said Anetra Jones, chief nursing officer, Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. “Our mission is making communities healthier, and one way we can do that is to ensure that our community members know where to go to get the care they need.”

Let’s start with primary care which refers to a person’s regular physician or physician group. A primary care practice is where someone might go when sick or in need of preventive care such as an annual physical or wellness check. Typically, people visit primary care doctors for:

  • annual exams and screenings
  • immunizations
  • chronic disease
  • prenatal care
  • earaches
  • colds
  • fevers
  • non-urgent healthcare needs

Any person without a primary care physician can search ‘Find a Doctor’ at or call 1-844-414-DOCS to find the right doctor.

Urgent Care Centers

Urgent care centers offer quick and effective care for minor injuries or illnesses that need urgent attention. They can also offer more enhanced services such as x-rays or IV administration. Individuals might choose urgent care facilities for:

  • minor cuts, burns, and wounds
  • minor eye injuries, infections or irritations
  • severe cold & flu symptoms
  • sprains
  • muscle aches & pains
  • persistent fever
  • allergies
  • severe earaches
  • upset stomach
  • other non-life threatening but urgent needs
  • occupational Health

Harris Regional Hospital provides an urgent care center in the Walmart Plaza in Sylva open 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. seven days a week. For information call 631-9462.  In addition, Harris Pediatric Care provides a walk-in clinic for sick and acute needs from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday for established pediatric patients located at 98 Doctors Drive, Suite 300, in Sylva. For information call 586-9642.

Emergency Room Care

Emergency rooms are open 24 hours and treat patients experiencing severe illness or injury any time of day or night. These may include:

  • symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain or severe shortness of breath
  • warning signs of stroke such as numbness in the face, arms, and legs
  • severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop
  • automobile or industrial accident
  • poisoning
  • complicated bone fractures
  • major illness
  • head injuries
  • suicide attempts or thoughts

It is important to remember that the emergency room is for emergencies only. Anyone experiencing or witnessing any of the above, or any other potentially life-threatening medical condition, should call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room immediately.

Harris Regional Hospital is pleased to provide lower than average wait times for seeing a doctor after arrival. Patients arriving at Harris can generally be seen by the physician in less than 20 minutes. The hospital is currently building a new emergency department which will provide additional rooms and continue to increase efficiencies for patients, family members, physicians, and staff. Target completion date is May 2017.

“At Harris Regional Hospital we are genuinely honored that our community members continuously choose us for their healthcare needs,” said Jones. “We encourage individuals with questions about their healthcare needs to call the hospital so that we can make sure they get the answers they need and find the care that’s right for them.”

To learn more about Harris Regional Hospital call 1-844-414-DOCS