Where to Find Fast, Convenient Health Care
It’s Saturday afternoon and you have a nagging sore throat or painful sprained ankle. Your regular doctor won’t be back in the office until Monday—and even then, you might have to wait days for an appointment. What are some other places to find health care, where and when you need it? Here’s a quick tour of your options.
Retail Walk-In Clinic
Located in pharmacies and certain retail stores, these clinics treat uncomplicated health problems, such as:
Coughs and cold
Ear and sinus infections
Some also offer:
Vaccines and physicals
Care is usually provided by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
Advantages: Extended hours, short waits, lower costs
Where to find it: Check the websites of major pharmacies, supermarkets, and big box stores near you to see whether any offer walk-in clinics.
Urgent Care Center
These centers can treat the same conditions as retail walk-in clinics. In addition, they can handle conditions that aren’t severe enough to require a trip to the emergency room but that call for lab tests, stitches, or X-rays. A physician is usually on site.
Advantages:Broad range of services, same-day care
Where to find it: Visit the home page of your health care system. Click the “locations” link to find urgent care facilities.
Virtual Doctor Visit
This approach lets you consult a physician through live video chats. Treatment is provided for many common complaints. Ideally, use a company that partners with local health care providers in case you need a face-to-face follow-up visit.
Advantages: Access to a doctor anywhere, anytime
Where to find it: Search for “virtual visit” or “video visit” on your health care system’s website. Some pharmacies with walk-in clinics now offer virtual doctor visits as well.
Bring a List of Your Medications
Let health care providers know about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, or herbal supplements you’re taking.