A choice many face: Where to go for your care
It is a choice many of you face when confronted with an illness or injury. Where do you go for care — your doctor’s office, an urgent care center or the hospital emergency department?
While Grady Memorial Hospital and OhioHealth offer a variety of treatment options, choosing the most appropriate facility helps ensure the best possible care.
Hospital emergency rooms often see patients suffering from relatively benign illnesses and injuries because many do not realize that other treatment options are available. And now we have another new delivery model — the “retail clinic” located in your pharmacy or grocery or department store. Here’s a review of your choices and the part each one plays on the healthcare continuum.
Primary Care Provider
Your doctor is the best place for the diagnosis and treatment of any common illness or injury that is not a life-threatening emergency. The biggest advantage your doctor has over other providers is a thorough knowledge of your medical history, including the procedures you’ve had and the medications you are taking.
Conditions typically treated in a physician’s office are colds, flu, sore throats, respiratory infections, sinusitis, ear aches, rashes, insect bites, simple cuts, sprains, strains and removal of superficial objects in the eyes.
Your doctor’s office is the place to go for chronic disease management, routine check-ups, and school, team or employment physicals.
Conditions typically treated in your doctor’s office also can be treated at Urgent Care when your doctor is not available. OhioHealth Urgent Care centers keep evening and weekend hours and always have a licensed physician on site, providing comprehensive, quality care on a walk-in basis.
Urgent Care treats non-life-threatening problems such as infections, aches, pains, simple cuts and burns and eye injuries that require immediate medical attention. It is designed for temporary medical assistance and not intended to be a primary care provider.
A visit to any OhioHealth Urgent Care centers connects you to the entire OhioHealth system.
While emergency departments can treat any illness or injury, they are intended to treat conditions with severe symptoms that pose a serious threat to your health. Chest pain, shortness of breath, severe bleeding, poisoning and major trauma such as broken bones and head injury are among conditions that should be treated in an emergency room.
The emergency department at Grady and other OhioHealth hospitals are staffed by licensed physicians certified in emergency care.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the emergency department can treat any condition that develops after hours, but is not designed for primary care. Patients are triaged so the sickest patients are seen first and co-pays usually are substantially higher than those for office visits or Urgent Care.
This most recent model of healthcare delivery takes medical care out of traditional settings and into the community at places such as pharmacies, supermarkets and department stores.
OhioHealth recently partnered with CVS MinuteClinics to provide medical director oversight at 11 walk-in medical clinics inside CVS stores — including one in Sunbury.
These clinics provide quick and easy access to routine care for small medical issues such as infections and minor wounds. They also offer screenings, vaccines and wellness advice. Staffed by a nurse or nurse practitioner, they are intended to supplement — not replace — your doctor’s office visits and be used when you are unable to see your doctor.
Dr. Jessica Long is a board-certified family medicine physician at Sunbury Family Practice and an active member of the Grady Memorial Hospital medical staff.