We all know there’s a ton of waste in the healthcare system. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but one I would like to touch on is choosing the right kind of place to go to get care. Choosing the right facility might mean your own home if you have something like a cough or sinus infection. It might mean something entirely different depending on your illness. Choosing wisely will save you time and money, yet most people don’t really think about it because they are used to doing the same thing time after time, year after year. I compiled a list of what the options are and when they might be helpful.
$ TELEHEALTH – Telehealth means getting care from your laptop, computer or phone. You can see or speak with real doctors from your state. It’s is the least costly option for medical visits and it’s available 24/7. They can treat minor issues like colds, coughs, sinus infections, bladder infections, rashes, and much more. If you feel you need a psychiatrist or psychologist, you can do it via the internet. Typically, you get your treatment plan immediately and a when needed, a prescription can be ready at your pharmacy within minutes. Think if you have a sick kid and it’s 3:00 a.m. (because that’s when kids get sick, of course) and you can see a doctor on your phone. How handy is that? Sometimes an employer will pay for these visits, so everyone should check with their plan to find out if they have a preferred vendor.
$$ CONVENIENCE CLINIC – Go to minute clinics like CVS or Walgreens. They are open during regular business hours and offer extended hours like nights and weekends. No appointments are needed. They can treat minor health issues like colds, flu, ear and eye infections, and sore throats. The wait is usually relatively short, and you can usually shop while you wait. That’s just fantastic.
$$$ PRIMARY CARE CLINICS – Office visits to see your doctor are open during regular business hours. You need an appointment, and they are great for non-emergency issues like preventive care, routine care for general issues, screenings and vaccines and referrals to specialty care. If you feel you need to be seen, primary clinics are much more efficient than urgent care. Wait times vary, but most likely you’ll see a doctor within a fairly short time.
$$$$ URGENT CARE CLINICS – Open days, nights and weekends. Visit urgent care when your concern is urgent but not life-threatening. They are best for minor cuts, sprains, and burns, rashes, fevers, X-rays and lab testing. It’s a great option when your primary clinic is closed. Wait times vary but are typically longer than an office visit.
$$$$$ EMERGENCY ROOM (ER) – Open 24/7. Go to an emergency room or call 911 if you have a life-threatening situation. Things like chest pain, shortness of breath, uncontrolled bleeding, poisoning or other serious illnesses and injuries require an ER. Wait times are dependent on the severity of your situation and tend to be longer if you go with a minor condition.
Everybody wants to save time and money on their healthcare. If folks can get comfortable moving out of the regular routine to try something different, going to the correct spot can really be financially beneficial. It can also save you a whole lot of time, and who isn’t excited about that?