In the world of American healthcare, there's a silver lining–the multitude of care options available to you.
When your Primary Care Doctor isn't immediately accessible, you can turn to Telehealth, Urgent Care, or the Emergency Room (ER).
Today, we'll guide you through these common healthcare routes. Understanding their unique strengths will help you make decisions that suit your health needs.
More importantly, understanding the pros and cons of each service can lead to significant cost savings when you need to make a care decision.
Telehealth: With telehealth, you get high-quality care from home, with short wait times, at a lower price than an urgent care or ER visit. But a weak internet signal could compromise the quality of your visit.
Urgent Care: Urgent care centers offer shorter wait times than the ER and on-site services like X-rays. But you are exposed to waiting room germs, and they may not handle severe emergencies or complex cases like an ER can.
Emergency Room (ER): In the ER, you can access advanced equipment, treatments, and specialists. But you may pay over $1,000 for the visit and experience long times for non-life-threatening cases.
What: An ER provides 24-hour emergency care to patients who need urgent medical attention for severe injuries or illnesses.
Cons: Expensive and long wait times.
Cost: Your highest copay and other possible potential fees.
Best For: Serious injuries and illnesses such as:
What: Urgent Care centers are designed to treat patients suffering from injuries or illnesses that are not life-threatening.
Cons: Wait times, pricing, and coverage vary.
Cost: Usually slightly higher than your primary care copay but lower than an ER copay.
What: Telehealth is a real-time consultation between a patient and a doctor through phone or video on your device.
A telehealth physician can diagnose and treat non-life-threatening medical issues, manage chronic health conditions, and prescribe medications for local pharmacy pickup. This happens in real-time, from the comfort of your home, and with low wait time.
Cost: The cost of a single telehealth visit can vary depending on the complexity of the consultation and the provider's fees. Many health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, now cover telehealth services. If you have insurance, your out-of-pocket costs may be reduced, but it's essential to check with your insurer to understand your coverage.
Best For: When you first start developing symptoms and want certified answers quickly.
None of these injuries or illnesses usually require an in-person physical examination.
Telehealth is the perfect first step in getting more information about your pain or discomfort. Then, depending on the nature of your visit, develop a treatment plan that you can act on immediately.
The difference between choosing the ER, Urgent Care, or Telehealth centers around the severity of the health problem.
As always, trust your instincts when you have an urgent medical problem: If you think you should seek emergency care, do so.
If you are experiencing symptoms, weigh your options between visiting Urgent Care or trying telehealth!
Healthcare in America can be difficult, complex, and costly. The system often marginalizes communities, lacks universal coverage, limits preventive care, and puts many individuals in medical debt. At Rume Health, we focus on making it easier for you and your family.
Overall, telehealth has become an integral part of modern healthcare, and its role in bridging gaps in access is increasingly recognized as essential for improving healthcare outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction.
Rume Health is the Management Service Organization for
Rume Medical Group, Inc, a network of healthcare providers.