When unexpected illnesses or injuries occur, it is sometimes difficult to decide where the best place to get treatment is, especially during the holidays. If it’s a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately, but if you’re suffering from an everyday illness or minor injury, where do you go? Urgent care facilities can be very useful for individuals who have an illness, injury or other healthcare concern that would otherwise normally be seen by their primary care physician. A new option for convenient, same-day visits is InstaCare. InstaCare allows you to reserve your spot online and will send you a reminder text or email when it’s close to your turn. The current wait time is listed on their website and is visible in the office, and walk-ins are welcome. It uses an affordable, transparent fee structure that varies by the type of visit you need – so there are no surprises, co-pays or deductibles. Pricing ranges from $29 to $89 and all major credit cards, flexible spending account cards and health savings account cards are accepted, as well as cash.
If an individual is experiencing a life-threatening situation such as severe chest pain, shortness of breath, sudden facial dropping or weakness in arm or leg, seizures, or traumatic injury from a severe fall or vehicle accident, call 911 immediately.
For the days that you just don’t have time to make it to your provider’s office, Cone Health offers e-visits and video visits through Cone Health Connected Care. Online visits with a medical professional are a convenient way to take care of minor conditions, and 19 percent of consumers are already utilizing them. E-visits are conducted through MyChart, and allow patients to interact with a provider virtually without video or voice communication. First, patients fill out a questionnaire with their symptoms and submit it through MyChart. Then, a Cone Health nurse practitioner or physician assistant will review the form and email back with additional questions, a request for a picture, or their recommended treatment plan and any prescriptions within one hour. These types of appointments are available daily, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., for patients eighteen years or older, and only cost $30 for most patients. If you don’t already have a MyChart account, talk to your provider or request one online at mychart.conehealth.com.
Minor conditions such as sinus issues, coughs, flu-like symptoms, back pain and more are among the health issues that can be evaluated. Your virtual care provider can diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe medication as needed. These services are not designed for complex conditions and emergency care.
Video and phone visits are also an easy way to see a physician, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. These visits are available 24/7, 365 days a year from your phone, tablet or computer. Care is provided by a team of physicians board-certified in family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine and pediatrics. These visits aren’t limited by age, you just have to register online at mdlive.com/conehealth, fill out your medical history and request a visit. Just like with an e-visit, your virtual care provider can diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe medication as needed. The cost of a video or phone visit is $49 or less, depending on your insurance.
Dr. John Jenkins currently serves as a Vice President at Cone Health for Telehealth and is Executive Medical Director of the Primary Care Collaborative – a think tank for innovation in delivery, access, and sustainability for primary care. In partnership with a team of Cone Health executives, Dr. Jenkins has led the development of Cone Health’s Telehealth platform for video and telephonic visits as well as E-visits through MyChart.
Prior to his work in the collaborative, Dr. Jenkins first served as Primary Care Division Chief and then as Practice President of LeBauer HealthCare, a 90 plus physician multispecialty group. He trained in Internal Medicine in Charleston, South Carolina at the Medical University of South Carolina.