When Should I Use Online Care and When Should I Visit in Person?

Posted by BeckyLeagjeld on Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Updated on: Thursday, September 16, 2021
Keywords: telehealth

The number of patients opting for online or  virtual care seems to have skyrocketed in recent years. This, of course, is in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it also may be due to the fact that digital technology is becoming more accessible, and the benefits of choosing online care is making the method more attractive to patients.  

At The Urgency Room, we provide expert care, without an appointment, for patients looking to avoid hospital emergency rooms. With several clinics throughout the Twin Cities Metro, we have the resources necessary to assist patients with a wide range of healthcare needs – in person and online. Our online care is available daily from 8am to 8pm and may be just want you need for the diagnosis and treatment of minor concerns or ailments.

We’ve put together this post to help you better understand when it’s viable to seek online care and when it may be necessary for you to visit The Urgency Room in person.

You Should Consider Conducting An Online Visit If You’re Experiencing These Symptoms

  • Cough: There are many reasons why a person may develop a cough. You may be experiencing a respiratory infection or allergies. But there’s always a chance that more serious lung problems are occurring.
  • Congestion: There are three common types of congestion – they are chest congestion, sinusitis, and nasal congestion. Fluids, particularly mucus, and inflammation are at the heart of most congestion issues.
  • Eye irritation or infection: While mild eye irritations may be common, some may be a sign of infection – which require a clinician’s care and antibiotic drops for treatment. Signs of an eye infection can include redness, pain, or drainage.
  • Sore throat: Either caused by bacteria or a virus, sore throats may lead to the need for treatment but, if not severe, may be initially evaluated via virtual visit.
  • Stable COVID concerns: Initially, it may be in your best interest to seek a virtual visit for any stable COVID-related concerns or concerns about exposure. Doing so could help prevent spread of the virus while you and your clinician discuss a plan of action. Seek emergency help if your symptoms are severe.
  • Urinary tract infection: A urinary tract infection (UTI) may occur throughout your urinary system – even in your kidneys. Signs of a UTI can include frequent urination and pain in the bladder. Men and women can both experience UTIs but they are typically more common in women.

Your clinician will review your symptoms and recommend the best care and treatment plan for you.

How Severe Should My Symptoms Be Before I Visit in Person?

Severe symptoms should be taken very seriously. If you believe your symptoms are severe or out of the ordinary, you should visit a clinic in person as soon as possible. If you’re experiencing an emergency, you should contact 911 immediately.

A few questions to ask yourself to determine the gravity of your symptoms:

  • Are my symptoms impairing my ability to think straight?
  • Am I able to breathe and perform basic motor functions without struggle?
  • Is my pain unbearable?

There are, of course, other factors to consider. Online care is a great option for individuals with mild symptoms and stable conditions, but it’s certainly not for every situation.  If you would like to meet with one of our providers in person, don’t hesitate.  We are open from  8am to 10pm every day.  

What Will a Virtual Visit Look Like?

The virtual visit experience can vary, depending on where you’re receiving your care. For the most part, however, it won’t differ too much from the traditional in-person experience and is really quite simple.

The Urgency Room process looks a little something like this: you follow the appropriate telehealth link, if it is your first time using our online services, you’ll need to create an account. You’ll complete a brief information form, and then you’ll be placed in a virtual waiting room.  We’ll text you as soon as your provider is ready to start your video visit.  

If your provider determines you need to have a test or lab work as part of your video visit (ie: strep, COVID, UTI) they will instruct you to visit the closest Urgency Room for your test. You can come in for the test or lab, we’ll be waiting for you, and your provider will let you know as soon as your results are in.  It’s that easy.  

If your provider determines you need more care than a video visit can offer, they will instruct you to visit the closest Urgency Room for further care.  They will discuss with the provider in the clinic and let them know you are on your way.  Any fees for the virtual visit will be waived if you end up visiting us in person.  

Experiencing Mild Symptoms? Try Telehealth

For some patients, all they may need is a quick telehealth visit to get to the bottom of their symptoms and find a solution. But it’s possible, during your virtual visit, that your Urgency Room clinician may suggest a follow-up in-person visit to one of our Twin Cities locations. Every patient is different and healthcare approaches vary case-by-case.

Visit our telehealth services to learn more or to get started on your own virtual healthcare visit.

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