An American young or old may sometimes suffer from wounds, injury, or illness, and when this happens, medical help should be found right away. Convenient medical care may be found in one’s local area such as 24 hour urgent care, and a patient or nearby responsible adult may look for 24 hour urgent care or on-demand care with a quick online search with a mobile device or a PC. A person may search with their local ZIP code or their city or town, with queries such as “24 hour urgent care Boston MA” or “24 hour urgent care southern Los Angeles” to start with. This may yield a whole list of nearby clinics and their locations and hours, allowing a person to reach these sites if need be. Meanwhile, some patients who don’t have the time or the transportation to visit a doctor’s office may instead make use of virtual doctors, and an online doctor may do a lot of good for non-emergency problems. How might this work?
Whether a 24 hour urgent care clinic or another type of walk in clinic, these medical facilities can be quite convenient and helpful for anyone who needs to visit them. Many thousands of these clinics can be found across the United States today, and most of them are either small and independent clinics or they are formed into small, local networks with one another. They are typically staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can handle a wide range of non life-threatening medical cases, and they will have the right tools and medicine for the job. Many of these clinics may accept various forms of healthcare insurance, but a visiting patient may want to check to see if their policy will be accepted there. If a clinic is running smoothly, the patient may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes, and the clinic may see about three patients per hour.
Such clinics may be found in strip malls, for example, or they may be worked into a larger facility such as a hospital or even a retailer. Retail clinics may be found in larger retailers such as Target or Walmart, and they often have a pharmacy in them as well. Such clinics may be easy to find and get parking for, since the parent retailer is meant to be easily accessible, though the clinic’s actual hours may vary. A shopper may visit for their shopping and also visit the pharmacy to get a prescription drug refill on the way. Other times, a clinic may be found inside a hospital, but it should be noted that the hospital’s and clinic’s medical services and staff are kept distinct. It is possible for a patient to visit the clinic and entirely ignore the hospital at large.
What might be treated at such clinics? Four out of five such clinics may treat bone fractures, and most of them can also handle ankle and wrist sprains as well (common injuries among athletes). On top of that, such clinics may take care of broken fingers or toes, and they can offer bandages and stitches for shallow cuts, such as if the patient stepped on broken glass or mishandled a knife. These clinics can offer medicine for relief against cold and flu symptoms, and patients may also get ointment or lotion for bad rashes due to allergies or poison ivy.
This is the field of virtual, remote doctor care. Why might a patient consult a doctor over Skype, for example? Some patients don’t even have transportation to a doctor’s office at all, or their local doctor may be too busy to see them. In other cases, a patient may have serious social anxiety or be afraid of contracting an illness at a crowded doctor’s office, so they may consult doctors online. This is a recent but rapidly growing field, and video and image transmission services make it possible to conveniently find and consult a doctor in this manner. A doctor performing telemedicine should also have access to any patient’s medical record with digital file sharing, such as Cloud data storage. This may allow a doctor to get a quick medical history of any patient they may meet over the Internet.