When you wake up in the middle of the night, achy from fever and coughing and sneezing, you’re looking for anything to get immediate relief.
As you assess you options for treatment, there are many you can choose from: you go to the emergency room, you could visit a 24 hour urgent care if there’s one in your area or you could make an appointment with your primary care doctor.
Bottom line: these days people want convenient medical care that’s fast, affordable and hassle free. They can certainly get that at a 24 hour urgent care, where many facilities can offer you a variety of treatments for everyday ailments including fever, colds, headaches, back pain, sprains and strains and dizziness.
Patients can also get the care they need from their primary care doctor, but they may be in for long waits, especially during the height of cold and flu season. General physicians receive more than 3,500 visits every year and even then, doctors only spend about 13-16 with each patient. If you’ve got a chronic condition you’re dealing with, that’s more than likely not enough time to meet with your doctor, discuss issues and then figure out treatment plans.
If you’re being honest, you can probably count on more than two hands the number of times you’ve been sick and trekked into the doctor’s office or the ER only to sit and wait. Rather than feeling relieved, you often feel frustrated, knowing that you’re still sick and you’re probably going to end up spending a lot of time and money.
So how else can you cut down on that frustration and get better, more convenient medical care? The simple answer is telemedicine. A recent report claims the virtual care (telemedicine) industry will be worth north of $36 billion by the year 2020 and with the benefits it offers, it’s not hard to see why:
- No waiting: If you’re like most Americans, you’ve got a busy schedule and not a lot of time to wait in the ER or doctor’s office. Fortunately, telemedicine takes away the long wait times since patients can schedule appointments for video and teleconferences with online doctors and get the answers or prescriptions you need right away.
- Staying healthy: Many Americans don’t like waiting in doctor’s offices and with good reason. They’re often crowded this time of year with patients dealing with all sorts of illnesses and ailments. This can be a nightmare for some folks because they’re surrounded by germs. Instead of being uncomfortable or risking getting sick, you can schedule appointments with a virtual doctor and meet with him or her in the comfort of your own home.
- Another benefit of telemedicine is that it gives patients a chance to deal directly with specialists. Doctors who are specialists receive more than 2,700 annually patient visits, so they’re always busy. By scheduling a telemedicine appointment, you get to have one-on-one conversations with a specialists, giving you a chance to talk about private matters and without having to trek long distances just to make it happen.
- On-demand care: Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of the growth of telemedicine is that it has afforded patients several options when it comes to on-demand care. For those with cold and flu symptoms for example can use telemedicine to get easy access to on-demand treatment (such as medicine) with having to go into a 24 hour urgent care or their primary care doctor.
It’s been estimated that more than 25% of all ER visits could be handled at urgent care centers. By visiting urgent cares—be they 24 hour urgent care centers or otherwise—you’ll help to avoid overcrowding in hospitals and get faster care by taking advantage of the many benefits your local urgent care center offers.
You can also help avoid that overcrowding by using telemedicine for health care. Not only is the industry growing, but patients are becoming more accepting of it as the world becomes more and more technology-driven. Recent studies have in fact indicated that 52% of respondents are willing to use virtual healthcare if it means they get to talk with their health care provider.