If you don’t already have a primary care physician (PCP), also known as “your doctor,” you’re missing out. A PCP can be a pediatrician, family medicine or internal medicine doctor — or even an OB/GYN — who gets to know you personally, to help navigate the care you’ll need throughout your life.
Your doctor is someone you trust and go to first, to help with medical needs or issues, in addition to annual well checkups. Throughout your health journey, you may not always be able to see your doctor — that’s when alternative methods of care should be used.
Read on to learn more:
When an accident or sudden illness occurs, often times we think emergency department, especially if it’s after hours or late in the evening. If the situation isn’t emergent, there are alternative methods of care that will save time, money, energy and sometimes your sanity, too.
Go to a hospital emergency department or call 911 for:
• Chest pain.
• Signs of stroke.
• Severe breathing problems.
• Major injuries, especially head injuries.
• Broken bones.
• Uncontrolled bleeding.
• Confusion or change in mental state.
• Sudden or severe pain.
Learn more: PIHHealth.org/ED
For situations that are not as emergent, there are urgent care centers or after-hours clinics. An urgent care can get you in quickly to see a medical professional, oftentimes with little or no waiting. For nonemergent situations, especially after hours, urgent care is a great alternative when you can’t get in to see your doctor.
Go to urgent care for:
• Cold/flu symptoms.
• Allergies and respiratory/sinus infections.
• Urinary tract infections (UTI) or bladder infections.
• Mild asthma attacks.
• Minor cuts and scrapes.
• Minor fractures and sprains.
For locations and wait time information: PIHHealth.org/UCC.
There are times when you might not be able to get to your doctor’s office or go to an urgent care, and the need is not emergent. Telemedicine is when you meet with a doctor through a phone call or video chat. It is an alternative method of care that is growing in popularity due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Today, many doctors and specialists offer telemedicine visits.
Use telemedicine for:
• Assessing symptoms for cold/flu, allergies and/or respiratory/sinus infections and more.
• Following up from a previous appointment (i.e., specialists such as orthopedic and sports medicine, bariatric surgery, etc.)
• Feeling anxious or have trouble coping, you can talk to a licensed therapist or board-certified psychiatrist.
• For breastfeeding support, you can talk to a lactation consultant, counselor or registered dietitian.
Check with your insurance provider or doctor’s office to know what telemedicine options are available to you.
Sometimes there are situations where you just need advice on what to do or where to go. Clinical professionals are available to answer questions so you don’t have to search the internet reading information that likely doesn’t pertain to your situation.
Use the NurseLine for:
• Access to trained registered nurses, day or night, to answer general health questions, for help understanding symptoms, or to help you decide the right care at the right time. A NurseLine is typically available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (24/7).
Check the back of your insurance card for NurseLine information.
When you need care, we can help.
To find a primary care physician you can trust, visit PIHHealth.org/Find-a-Doctor today.