I have a few disclosures to make:
1. I use Great Clips for hair cuts. They are $10 haircuts for what hair I have left and they look like $10 haircuts without a razor shave on the back of the neck but my main reason for doing so is below.
2. When I get sick I either consult my iPhone as my primary care physician or use an “urgent care” center that may be located in a Target, Walmart or CVS or free standing. I had a primary care physician – I did not like him and I think the feeling was mutual. Now I largely rely upon “physician extenders” such as nurse practioners for antibiotics and the like. Somehow, somewhere physicians became “providers” but nurses became “physician extenders”.
Great Clips has this app on my iPhone that gives me locations, wait times and allows me to check in ahead based on my travel time to the location I choose. When I get there, I usually only wait a few minutes at most and then I am in the barber chair. There is no wait list, clipboard, schedule to make an appointment on weeks before, etc… You control when you can go and see if the wait times coincide with travel time and minimize downtime. It works for me.
Urgent care centers if you have not been to one work more like a deli model, you check in at a kiosk, get a number and someone comes out and calls your number and escorts you back to an exam room. There they look at any prior records, review any medical history, prior visits, etc… and begin the encounter. If the physician extender feels like he/she cannot manage the problem they may refer you to the other physician extender, refer you to the ER or perhaps get the physician medical director if he/she happens to be onsite or perhaps give them a call. I have no personal experience with these scenarios but fellow patients and the physician assistants/nurse practioners have shared with me what happens if they get in over their head.
Now, urgent care is like getting a hair cut. You can go the site, pre check-in, tell them when you can be there, wait a few minutes and boom, you are on the exam table.
It’s ingenious. What frustrates many folks when going to the doctor, or physician, or in this case, physician extender are the wait times. Urgent care, in my experience does not always necessarily mean urgent visit. There can still be long waits to peruse the aisles before they call your number. Until now. Now urgent care means being seen more urgently. It combines hair cut scheduling with healthcare.
Now it takes me more time to schedule an oil change now than it does a sick visit. And urgent care means urgent care.
When will traditional medicine begin to allow empty appointment slots and cancelled appointments available for folks to schedule when they need so from the palm of their hands. When will scheduling your next dentist visit not be 6 months out but when you are 6 minutes out?
When can you drop in for your annual physical when you have an hour in 14 minutes rather than calling this month for an appointment next month?