Patients & Hospitals Are Turning to Urgent Care Facilities For Aid

Extraordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things | Roger Stanmore MD, JDIf you’ve been paying any attention to the American health care system, you’ve probably noticed the rise in Urgent Care Centers.

These facilities offer medical services primarily to people who either cannot access their primary care physician or do not have one. Most patients are sick or injured, but not badly hurt enough to require emergency care. Commonly treated issues include fevers, stomach pains, diarrhea, and minor cuts and sprains. Many Urgent Care Centers also offer services such as vaccinations, blood tests, and STD testing.

Urgent Care Centers fill a much-needed niche. They help reduce wait times in Emergency Rooms, save patients money, and give ER doctors and nurses the space to focus on real emergencies. Many Urgent Care Centers began outside of the hospital system, seeking to offer a solution to overcrowded ERs. But just because Urgent Care Centers aren’t Emergency Rooms doesn’t mean that they can’t be affiliated with hospitals. In fact, many hospitals are now realizing it may be advantageous, both for themselves and for the patients, to team up with Urgent Cares.

Today there are about 7,100 Urgent Care Centers in the United States. Of those, 22% are owned by hospitals, and 15% more are in partnerships with a hospital. Hospitals can send patients to Urgent Care Centers for follow-up appointments. They can also advertise their affiliated Urgent Cares and encourage patients to visit Urgent Care Centers for non-emergencies.

From patient’s perspectives, Urgent Care Centers that are affiliated with hospitals are more likely to accept Medicare or offer financial aid, while also being considerably cheaper than regular hospitals. And while non-affiliated Urgent Cares usually allow patients to send any information gathered at the center to patients’ regular physicians, with affiliated Urgent Cares the sharing is generally more streamlined.

Also, in general, patients are also more willing to trust an Urgent Care associated with a hospital, especially if that hospital has a good reputation. Unaffiliated Urgent Cares may offer excellent services, but since the whole concept of Urgent Care Centers is still relatively new, affiliated centers have the advantage of familiarity.

It’s uncertain exactly what role Urgent Care Centers will play in the future. New technologies, such as self-diagnosis and self-check-up technologies, will likely be adopted by Urgent Cares even more quickly than they will by more traditional hospitals and independent physicians. And with the shifting climate surrounding American health care, much is still an unknown. Nonetheless, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Urgent Care facilities are here to stay.

 

7 Tips For Keeping Your Cool During An Emergency

7 Tips For Keeping Your Cool During An Emergency | Roger StanmoreEmergencies can rouse panic and unrest in just about anyone, and moments of urgency can rattle even the most composed individual. Whether you face immediate life or health risks, emergencies are worsened by an improper reaction to acute injury or illness, possibly yielding long-term damage.

Each year, thousands fall victim to burns, seizures, heart attacks, and other types of emergencies. These life-changing tragedies and unthinkable moments require a level-head and a split-second response, especially when you feel yourself begin to disorient due to fear. In the case that it’s you or someone you love who requires immediate attention within and outside of the home, the most helpful piece of advice you need is to remain calm. However, there are some other pieces of advice you should take to heart during a moment of difficulty.

Take a Beat

You may not want to react too quickly. In fact, sometimes another person’s life may depend on you offering the proper response, not simply a rash one. Immediately ask yourself what’s the most efficient way to alleviate risk and stress during a time of crisis.

Take a Breath

Failing to breathe properly can interrupt the movement from oxygen to the brain, resulting in a loss of focus. Breathing deeply can quiet the urge to hyperventilate or pass out. Keep calm and make.

Keep Your Mind on Task

It’s critical that your mind remains with those who are in need. If you see that one person may be injured and they’re fine, survey your area to be sure that no else has been hurt.

Devise A Plan of Action Today

Ahead of any incident, always be prepared in case an emergency arises. Don’t wait for a tragedy to strike, create evacuation plans, prepare a first aid kit, learn CRP, and know the best exit routes in case there’s a fire.

Voice of Reason

Keeping calm is vital, but managing to keep others calm and offering them positive guidance demonstrates bravery. It’s incredibly courageous to overcome your fear to boost the morale of everyone involved in the situation. Mindfulness can improve through practice.

Reduce Stress

Squeezing and releasing all of the muscles in your body isometrically in three successions will reduce stress and call you.

Communication

Clear communication is essential, offering everyone involved a clear picture of what’s at stake. Taking the time to speak evenly to an injury party can reduce stress, and lead to a quick resolution.

Remember to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) basics, as well as all-important first aid basics, so that you’re prepared for ahead of a life or death situations. Additionally, locate all fire extinguishers, as well as fire exits. Above all else, remember to call 911.

Finding Affordable Care When Traveling

Finding Affordable Care When Traveling - Roger StanmoreWeekend excursions and treks to incredible destinations can be stressful. What’s more, they can potentially put you at risk of falling ill or becoming a victim of injury. Whether it’s a matter of eating bad seafood or taking an unfortunate tumble down a flight of stairs, you’ll likely want to prepare yourself with health insurance options that won’t be limited when you need care the most. It’s terribly important that you’re completely competent when it comes to knowing if your insurance company will help you to access service, or if you’ll have gaps in coverage. There are a number of tips you should consider whether you’re traveling domestically or nationally:

Figure Out Your Coverage Beforehand…

Chat with someone from your insurance company ahead of leaving your area to learn about the extent of your medical coverage when you’re in another state or another nation.

Educate yourself on how much medical care will cost, as well as out-of-network costs. Download your health insurance company’s app, and look to folks like ZocDoc, which facilitates access to digital appointment books.

Budget For Out-Of-Pocket For Medical Care Expenses

If you’re traveling, you should put aside a little extra money in case you’ll need to  visit with an out-of-network doctor.

If you budget for a higher bill, you’ll feel like you’ll be able to manage payment. It’s important that domestic and international travels assess health care costs.

When Refilling Prescriptions…

Traveling isn’t foolproof. In fact, something that often happens when moving from one area to another is forgetfulness, or  a failure to retrieve or refill your medicine.

If this happens, make sure to call you doctor or pharmacy promptly and explain your situation. Your doctor then will be able to arrange for your prescriptions to be retrieved from a nearby pharmacy. You can also visit a doctor at an urgent care facility or ER if you are unable to reach your physician.

Supplemental Health Insurance?

For some travelers, the idea of supplemental healthcare is attractive. This is certainly true for those who are spending months in different nations.

Several weeks ahead of a departure, look into separate plans and figure out if temporary insurance that will cover you during the length of your trip is a good idea for you.

Emergency Care or Urgent Care?

The Affordable Care Act ensures that health insurance plans cover emergency care as an essential health benefit, which is awesome!

However, it’s important to recognize that hospitals and ER clinics tend to charge a premium for identical service you could receive from from a physician’s office or urgent care clinic. In fact, treatment and services at ERs or clinics are five times more expensive than urgent care facilities.

Call the number on the back of your insurance card and chat with experts about your condition and where you should go.

Telemedicine for Non-Emergency Injuries…

For travelers who are busy or simply unable to visit a doctor’s office, telemedicine is an incredible option. Users can pay a flat fee for each visit, and they can use their webcams or camera-enabled devices to receive a diagnosis. They can help diagnoses and offer treatment for sinus issues, the flu, sore throats, or respiratory infections.

The online consultation is the least expensive out-of-network option, granting access to physicians who are able to prescribe medications.

Prevention…

What’s just as important as access to healthcare is access to information that teaches the importance of prevention. Gauge the risk of potential injuries, consider your mental health, exercise, and eat healthy meals, so that you’re in your best shape when you’re traveling or on vacation.

National Urgent Care Awareness Month Educates the Public About the Importance of Urgent Care Medicine

471377933_1280x720National Urgent Care Awareness Month is a month that’s observed annually and it celebrates the urgent care professionals and clinicians who are a vital part of emergency care medicine and overall health care. By bringing awareness to the industry, we can educate the media, the public, and medical professionals about the capabilities of this particular subsector of healthcare.

Unfortunately, millennials are most likely to be confused about their health care options, which makes it far more difficult for them to seek out the assistance they need when they’re suffering from afflictions. According to a survey by the Urgent Care Association of America, which was conducted for Urgent Care Awareness Month, Millennials are nearly twice as likely as Baby Boomers to be confused about when and where to seek health care. Approximately 15 percent of respondents ages 18-34 have experienced difficulty, compared to just eight percent of individuals over the age of 65.

“During Urgent Care Awareness Month, we wanted to gain insight into the health care decision-making process for all generations to better understand what is important to different types of patients,” said Steve Sellars, MBA, and UCAOA President. “We learned the majority of respondents understand their health care options, but affordability, quality, and convenience are main determinants of where they seek their health care treatments.”

The survey found that Baby Boomers prioritized experienced physicians, while Millennials were more likely to seek out cost-saving and convenience. Approximately 34 percent of individual over the age of 65 prioritized the health care professional they’ll see, compared to 19 percent of individuals between 18 and 34. The location is most important for those between the age of 35 and 44, and having a physician on-site is most important to those over 45.

Urgent care centers are an ideal choice for many who are in need during a non-emergency situation that requires immediate attention. These non-emergencies can arrive in the form of colds, broken bones, the flu, sprains, or common illnesses. Most urgent care facilities are equipped to handle blood work, casts or splints, x-rays, or prescription medicines.

“Urgent Care Awareness Month recognizes the commitment of thousands of clinical providers and administrators, as well as those delivering products and services to this fast-growing industry.” said P. Joanne Ray, Chief Executive Officer of UCAOA. “. This month’s celebration is an opportunity to remind the public that urgent care centers are ready and available to make their lives easier and healthier. While urgent care will never take the place of a primary care doctor for ongoing or chronic care, and is not a replacement for the emergency room in life- or limb-threatening situations, nearly 7,200 urgent care centers across the country bridge the gap between these options and provide an affordable, convenient, quality choice for many common medical issues.

While urgent care will never take the place of a primary care doctor for ongoing or chronic care, and is not a replacement for the emergency room in life- or limb-threatening situations, nearly 7,200 urgent care centers across the country bridge the gap between these options and provide an affordable, convenient, quality choice for many common medical issues.”

5 Pieces of Medical Technology That Could Boost Your Urgent Care Center

14466922893_c3cf1124cb_bU.S.-based urgent care facilities are growing rapidly, sprouting up aggressively across the nation. According to American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine, there are roughly 9,300 centers nationwide, though that number is a little unclear due to the acceleration of this care model. As time moves forward, the marketplace has become a bit more crowded. In order to stand out amid the bevy of urgent care facilities, urgent care centers should have some fundamental pieces of medical technology in order to thrive.

Electronic Health Records

Urgent care facilities are a fast-paced environment, built around an understanding of rapid service, from intake to examination. In order to do this successfully, urgent care centers should put an EHR system in place in order to integrate paperwork with a billing program, to eliminate redundancies, and to ease the electronic submission of claims. Additionally, lab results can be logged into this system. The EHR can also be a resource for physicians who require an answer to a daunting medical question.

iPad EHR

An iPad EHR can help physicians chat with patients while maintaining eye contact, contributing to the overall patient experience. Also, they’re portable, they have a longer battery life than most laptops, and pictures can easily be captured on an iPad, which is important for documenting medical conditions.

CRM Tools

Customer relationship management is important for urgent care facilities in towns where there are competitors. Developing a message that sets you apart, and advertising your facility can help you to beckon patients who may be interested, but uneducated about the benefits of your services. Educate the public through relevant campaigns. You can do this by determining the most effective marketing opportunities, channels of communication, and demographic. Also by capturing and consolidating information on the main database, and identifying projected return on investment (ROI) of each campaign, it makes it so that operators will be more likely to reach a profitable customer base.

Practice Management Software

PM software is more than a medical billing program, it’s can streamline the administrative, financial, and clinical operations within a facility, which would enable physicians to offer patients incredible care. The software can do a number of things, including helping your organization to increase reimbursements, stay ahead of compliance regulations, enhance the patient experience, and improve the day-to-day operations.

Patient Portal

Patient portals are valuable assets, allowing patients to access all of their personal information, everything from an upcoming appointment, to a list of medications, to billing, to lab results, to appointment requests. Today’s consumers want access to information they deem important, and they use that information to help them make decisions regarding their own health. These portals can also offer educational literature, allowing a patient to learn at their own convenience. When patient portals are integrated with EHR systems, it can improve patient care and provider workflow.

Health Law Responsible for Direct Primary Care Interest?

Direct Primary Care, Roger Stanmore

Health law has apparently “inspired” concierge medicine to access new markets, namely primary care physicians via direct primary care.

According to recent news, there’s been a firm rise in primary care doctors opting to select “health care for billionaires” as a career option. Primary care physicians named frustrations with insurance requirements and federal health law companies as the reason they’re stepping away from Medicaid, Medicare, and middle-income populations.

The direct primary care mimics “concierge” practices, which increased in popularity over the last two decades. The particular law that sparked discontent is the 2010 health law requiring that most patients have insurance. That discontent is paired with an apparent desire to give more care that’s more convenient for them, which has drawn physicians away from traditional practices. There are now more than 400 group practices, while there just a handful existed prior to 2010. Many regard the law as an “open-for-business’ sign for direct primary care industry’s, leading doctors to join this movement.

The American College of Physicians has encouraged doctors to consider how poorer patients may be affected by the individualized work while direct primary care doctors insist that they see patient across incomes. Advocates are popping up. all over the United States.

New Jersey state employees, such as teachers and firefighters, will participate in a pilot plan that will utilize direct primary care, allowing participants to select a primary care physician as well as a primary care-style, granting around-the-clock access to primary and preventative care services. Aetna and Horizon will administer the plan, making it available to the 800,000 eligible residents.

There’s a lot to be said about health care, health insurance and the network of doctors, primary care physicians, and specialists that work within that realm. Many of these doctors are resistant to standing practices because they feel the current policies place hours of troublesome insurance paperwork in the path of health advocacy. They also feel that this leads to additional cost spent on overhead, leading to increased costs. In the mind of many, the cost of comprehensive primary care and basic medication made available through direct primary care is far less expensive than the use of insurance.

Nonetheless, while participants will benefit from same-day appointments for non-emergency visits, the direct care model isn’t perfect. It’s still in development, individualized care may be too expensive for many patients, and there will be challenges when attempting to integrate direct care into existing payment systems. Additionally, Medicaid and Medicare deadlines will likely deter physicians. Direct primary care and concierge medicine differ from the urgent care model, where patient receive expedient, affordable care in a center equipped with updated medical tech. Check out additional information on the matter.

Urgent Care Medicine and it’s Rise in the U.S.

Waiting RoomUrgent Care Medicine continues to change. It’s a live thing that constantly revises to meet the needs of the public. As life spans increase, medicines have improved and medical technologies have morphed to meet the diverse needs of patients. 

There are frustrations that exist in the world of medical care. For the patients, it’s long waits at the emergency room. However, lengthy waits in the emergency room can be attributed to congestion due to non-emergency care and an inability to meet with primary care physicians. It’s not uncommon for certain patients to wait weeks before their actually able to see their primary care physician.

The Urgent Care industry re-emerged during the mid-1990s to meet the needs of patients needing non-emergency care. The Urgent Care movement was launched in the U.S., but the healthcare delivery component spread to many nations, including New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the U.K. Over the last eight years, the number of urgent care facilities increased from 8,000 to 9,300. These facilities meet the immediate medical needs of clients, and they’re frequently the main destination for medical care due to the fact that primary-care physicians rarely have weekend or evening availability.

Less than 30 percent of primary care physicians offer after-hour services, which hints at the significance of urgent care facilities. Urgent care facilities provide a breadth of after-hour availability and patients typically only wait just half-an-hour or less when visiting these centers, compared to a multiple hour waits at the emergency room.

Urgent Care centers frequently put patients in touch with doctors, not nurse practitioners, and they provide imaging and other services. These services are available at a fraction of ER prices, and they accept most types of insurance. The availability, extended hours, and costs make Urgent Care centers ideal for patients with non-life-threatening healthcare needs. Moreover, these facilities provide relief to emergency rooms and hospitals, which have drastically reduced in numbers despite the an increase in the number of visits.

There are more than 20,000 physicians practicing in Urgent Care centers around the nation, and that number is growing. Many training physicians currently pursuing a career in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Pediatrics are seeking additional schooling for Urgent Care Medicine. Urgent Care doctors are dedicated to treating illnesses and injuries that require immediate care, and point-of-care dispensing allows Urgent Care practitioners to provide prescriptions to patients prior to departure. Though medication dispensing varies from state-to-state.