If you woke up with a sore throat, you’d probably reach for the tea kettle and throat lozenges. While home remedies can be great in some instances, if you require medication or want immediate care, consider paying a visit to your nearest walk-in clinic.
So you can make an informed decision about your healthcare, here are the six essential things you need to know before visiting a walk-in clinic.
1. Low-severity conditions
For selected low-severity conditions, a walk-in clinic is similar to a traditional doctor’s office. Consider using an urgent care center for anything from sore throat and allergies to Covid-19 testing.
However, suppose you’re experiencing symptoms including fainting spells or chest pains. In that case, you need emergency care and should go straight to the emergency room.
2. Overall health
Walk-in clinics are a great alternative to seeing your primary physician, particularly if you’re relatively healthy and don’t have a complicated medical history.
This being said, even if you have complex long-term health problems, visiting a walk-in clinic is not a bad idea if your primary physician is unavailable and quick treatment is important for someone with your medical background.
3. Scope of services
An urgent care center has a specific range of services to offer. Your walk-in medical center should clearly state the scope of services they offer so you can make an informed choice.
Booking your appointment online will allow you to evaluate the range of services and avoid in-person waiting. Your urgent care clinic may also offer telemedicine services if you prefer not to be seen in person.
If you have specific needs, such as pediatric care or expertise in women’s health, find an urgent care center specializing in the services you need.
4. Be prepared
Suppose you make the decision to visit a walk-in clinic. It would help if you took any relevant medical records with you to expedite your treatment. For the best possible level of care, take your health insurance information and details of any prescription medications. A doctor’s diagnosis and contact details will also prove helpful.
Because a walk-in clinic has no previous relationship with you as a patient, a photo ID is essential. Check that your chosen clinic accepts your health insurance plan to reduce your out of pocket liabilities, but be prepared for any payments and copays on the day.
5. You may not see a doctor
Before you head for your nearest walk-in clinic, it’s essential to understand that the person who treats you may not be a doctor.
Depending on the care you need, you could be attended to by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. These healthcare providers are qualified to diagnose and prescribe treatment for your condition. After treatment they will then recommend a follow up with your primary physician or doctor.
6. Understand what an urgent care center can offer you
Before you commit to getting treated at a walk-in clinic, it’s essential to understand what to expect:
- Friendly service in a relaxed environment
- A short wait or a pre-booked appointment
- Quality care by healthcare providers who specialize in the low-severity treatment
- Diagnosis and treatment including bandaging wounds and prescribing pain medication
- Convenient and affordable care
- Urgent care is not emergency care