Deciding where to go when you’re in need of medical advice or treatment can sometimes add confusion to an already challenging situation. Do you visit the ER, seek urgent care, utilize telehealth, or reach out to your traditional medical provider?
Dr. Amy Khan, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says, “Many more Utahns saw a physician by a virtual visit during the pandemic and avoided potential exposure to COVID-19.”
Virtual visits are just one treatment option more readily available now that provides convenience and the ability to get your questions answered by a medical professional sooner.
Dr. Khan says, “It's a good fit for common conditions like rashes, colds and flu, as well as evaluating symptoms of anxiety, depression and even stress related concerns. Virtual visits really allow individuals to get care when and where they might want it.”
For preventive care, checkups, and vaccinations, an in-person clinic or doctor’s office visit is recommended. There you can get evaluated and treated for minor to moderate health concerns, injuries or pain.
An alternative to a traditional doctor’s office visit includes health clinics or urgent care. These options are less costly than emergency room visits and should be looked at as an option when a situation isn’t necessarily life threatening.
Dr. Khan says, “If you are experiencing life or limb threatening symptoms, go to an emergency department.”
Those life-threatening situations can include heart attack, stroke, difficulty breathing, major injury, head trauma, burns, bleeding that won’t stop, or even suicidal feelings.
The benefit to an ER is that, “While you might have a slightly longer wait, these sites can provide you much broader services and access to hospital care when needed.”
Dr. Khan also suggests finding an in-network hospital ahead of time so you know where to go should you need it. Your primary care physician can also help guide you to choose the best option.