AUSTIN, Minn. — Evolutions in health care services and strategy have given patients a variety of options when it comes to receiving care from a provider. However, sometimes understanding what type of care is best for your particular need is challenging. Should you go to Urgent Care? Can you address your needs over the phone? Is it best to wait to schedule an appointment with your care team?
Greg Angstman, M.D., a Family Medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin says “Getting the right care at the right place and time is important. And, as health care providers, our goal is to help you understand how to do just that.”
So, what are your care options and when is it appropriate to use them?
The name says it all. If it’s an emergency, then you should come to the Emergency Department (ED). An emergency is when a condition arises that you deem severe, often times a life or death situation. Good examples are heart attack symptoms, stroke or a compound fracture — a bone that protrudes through the skin.
The ED is set up with the resources needed to effectively diagnose and treat life or death situations. Choose the ED if you have immediate worries about your health.
If, from a medical standpoint you feel like your ailment can’t wait tomorrow, Urgent Care is the place to go. Specializing in the treatment of minor illness and injury, Urgent Care providers commonly diagnose and treat colds and cough, ear infections, minor burns and cuts, rashes and other non-life threatening conditions.
“Think of Urgent Care as the middle-ground between your primary care team and the ED. But don’t use Urgent Care simply for convenience — make sure your need is urgent in nature,” says Dr. Angstman.
“With Nurse Line, you can get medical advice 24/7. Many common conditions can be treated over the phone, saving you an office visit,” says Dr. Angstman. Nurse Line can assist with virtually all acute health care needs. Common conditions include ear aches, coughs, colds, urinary tract infections, pediatric conjunctivitis (pink eye) and yeast infections. Some situations will still require patients to set up a face-to-face appointment with a provider or seek immediate care.
Nurse Line is a free service. Call 888-609-4065 (toll free) to speak with an expert nurse from Mayo Clinic Health System.
“So the next time you decide to seek health care, consider these different options and the guidelines that go with them. If you have questions, contact your primary care team or give the Nurse Line a call. We’re dedicated to getting you the right care at the right place and time.”