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Season 3 | Episode 10 bonus content

One Thing Today: Where to Get Care?

When you’re not feeling well or have a medical emergency, knowing your medical care options can be critical for your health.

May 9, 2023 | 6 minutes


In this bonus episode, our hosts Callie Chamberlain and Dr. Kenny Poole break down primary care, nurse lines, telehealth, urgent care and emergency rooms so you can find the right fit for health situations ranging from small to serious.

Speaker 1: Welcome back to another bonus episode of Until It's Fixed. I'm Callie Chamberlain.

Speaker 2: And I'm Dr. Kenny Poole.

Speaker 1: As we cover ways to make healthcare work better for everyone, these bonus episodes will draw connections between the topic we recently discussed and our daily lives.

Speaker 2: We'll talk about one thing you and I can do today related to that topic to take charge of our health and wellbeing.

Speaker 1: Our last two episodes were all about meeting people where they're at from home [00:00:30] and community-based care to retail health clinics, to the challenges of rural healthcare. We've explored how the healthcare industry is working to give you the best care options, but we also wanna talk about the best options for the exact moment when you're not feeling well or you're having a medical emergency. So on today's episode, we're getting a little more specific on what to do when you're not feeling your best, and how healthcare can meet you where you're at. Our one thing today is how to find and understand care options that work for you. So let's say that you don't feel well, which is already exhausting in and of itself, right? Physically and [00:01:00] mentally. And now you have to make a decision about where you're going and when to go, or whether to go somewhere and be seen at all. So in the moment, you might just pick the first thing you see on your search results or go somewhere that you know is close by. But if you have options, knowing about what those are can save you time and money.

Speaker 2: So we'll start with discussing primary care. I think that everyone should have a primary care provider. Primary care providers are usually defined as a [00:01:30] general medicine physician for adults or family practitioner, or a pediatrician for children, or again, a family practitioner. There can also be nurse practitioners and physician assistants that work on care teams that can also serve in that role. Having a primary care physician is extremely important to just give you a medical home that should be your go-to for all things related to health. And having a primary care physician can [00:02:00] really help guide you along the healthcare journey, and that includes making sure that you get the right care at the right time in the right places.

Speaker 1: Another option to get in front of a provider very quickly is through telehealth. It saves the time it would take to get to an in-person visit and can help reduce the spread of viruses and other illnesses because you're not in a waiting room with other people. If your primary care provider knows your medical history and your symptoms, they might be able to diagnose you on the call. And if you need additional tests, scans, or [00:02:30] evaluations, they can refer you to those services, which can be faster than going straight to a clinic for a full appointment.

Speaker 2: A lot of primary care offices do telehealth now, and obviously that was accelerated during the pandemic in terms of the availability and use of telehealth, but telehealth isn't always with an established provider. Again, there's also options like twenty-four, seven virtual visits by phone or video that can be done with outside or independent, [00:03:00] and they're great if you just need somebody to diagnose common medical conditions or prescribe medications if needed and if appropriate.

Speaker 1: Yeah, we know that broadband and internet access isn't always available for people, so these might not be available options for everyone. You can always call a nurse line to begin, even though they can't see you. If you list your symptoms, they can generally get a sense of where your health is at and points you in the right direction, and most lines are free. So it's a great first step.

Speaker 2: So let's talk about [00:03:30] urgent care. So urgent care refers to any type of urgent medical attention that someone needs for a problem that can't wait, but isn't an emergency. It isn't something necessarily life-threatening or thought to be life-threatening and urgent care can be provided in a number of ways. So first off, there are some primary care offices or primary care providers that do [00:04:00] have urgent care built into their practices. And so that would be the ideal place to start if your primary care provider has those services, because you're already established your medical history, you could also do urgent care in a standalone urgent care center, which a lot of people are familiar with. They're another option for immediate treatment of illnesses and injuries that are not life-threatening.

Speaker 1: Yeah, there might also be situations where you do need to go to the emergency room. [00:04:30] For example, if you're experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, if you have major burns or severe injuries, you know, you can't wait for treatment, you need to go right away. And in those instances, you might need to call 9 1 1 or go to the nearest emergency room. Emergency rooms are open 24 7,

Speaker 2: But a lot of times you do need to go to the ER. And one of the things that we used to talk about a lot when I was teaching residents, and I even spoke on this with patients, that while the financial part is certainly [00:05:00] real and should be in the background, we shouldn't let finances dictating and guide the care that we need. I think it's important to think about your health first and foremost. Mm-hmm. Just like on the provider side, you know, we wanna make sure that we don't put people in difficult financial situations, but we also want people to get the care that they need regardless of their ability to pay, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Yeah. But sometimes checking if alternative forms of care can provide the [00:05:30] same services is really a cost saving exercise. And so I totally get it, and that's something that should be taken into context

Speaker 1: From primary care services to urgent care, to telehealth to emergency room visits. There are so many options. So we really hope this was helpful and can give you a better sense of what's possible. If you're ever sick and wondering where to start, you can always get a quick refresher of your options just by taking a few minutes to re-listen to this episode. Thank you again for listening, and join us next week as we continue to talk more about [00:06:00] how wellness programs often through your employer, if you're employed or through your insurance, actually pay or reward you for getting healthy. Make sure to follow or subscribe wherever you listen. You can get notified when a new episode is live. Catch you next time.