If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or seek care at an emergency room.
Now that MedStar eVisit is available, there are more ways than ever before to see a medical provider. However, many people still don’t know when it’s most appropriate to have an eVisit, versus seeking medical attention at an urgent care center or emergency room.
An eVisit is useful for minor health conditions. It allows you to chat with a provider by using video on your computer or using the MedStar eVisit app on your smartphone or tablet. Read on to learn more about MedStar eVisit and signs when it might be best to visit an urgent care center or emergency room instead.
When to Use an eVisit.
Using MedStar eVisit can be extremely convenient, because you can speak to a provider at home or work, or even while traveling. eVisits are most effective for straightforward medical issues that can be easily described or visualized via video.
The most common conditions that are treated during an eVisit include:
- Common cold: A cold is easy to spot, as it generally causes a runny nose, cough, and mild sore throat. When you meet with a provider over an eVisit, they can work with you to come up with a treatment plan that suits your needs and helps you recover as quickly as possible.
- Flu (Influenza): When you’re experiencing symptoms that are a clear sign of the flu, such as a sudden onset of fever, body aches, and chills, a provider can prescribe you medication to help you get over it faster. The flu can be serious, however, so if you experience more severe symptoms, make sure to see a doctor in person.
- Pink eye: Also known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is a contagious condition that causes your eye to become pink, watery, and itchy. During an eVisit, a provider can typically confirm you have pink eye and prescribe you an effective medication.
- Seasonal allergies: Millions of people experience seasonal allergies throughout the year, suffering from symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, and sore throat. Fortunately, a provider can easily evaluate your symptoms during an eVisit and provide you with a treatment plan that helps alleviate your symptoms.
- Sinus infection: When you have a sinus infection—or infected, swollen, or inflamed nasal cavities—a provider with discuss the severity of your symptoms with you and a treatment plan which may include an antibiotic.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): This infection typically has unique symptoms, such as frequent and urgent urination with a burning sensation, which make it easy for a provider to diagnose it without seeing you in person. In many cases, a provider may prescribe an antibiotic during your eVisit and create a follow-up plan to ensure your treatment goes as planned.
An #eVisit can be a great way to receive treatment for conditions such as the #flu, a #cold, and a UTI. Learn how MedStar eVisit works and when to go to #UrgentCare, via @MedStarHealth.
It’s important to verify that your insurance plan covers an eVisit. Many insurance companies do cover it these days, but it’s still a good idea to check before your eVisit session. In cases when your insurance does not cover MedStar eVisit, the cost is $79 per visit.
What About Urgent Care?
Urgent care centers treat the same conditions that MedStar eVisit can, but urgent care centers are better for more serious conditions, especially ones that are causing you pain. This is because pain is difficult for a provider to evaluate without examining you in person.
Make sure to visit the nearest urgent care center if you have any of the following conditions:
- Abdominal pain: Because the cause of abdominal pain can vary greatly, it’s important that you visit with a provider in person to receive the most accurate diagnosis and treatment.
- Back pain: When you have back pain, a provider needs to physically evaluate your back to determine the source of your pain. Your provider may also perform imaging tests, such as an X-ray, so you can receive the best possible treatment.
- Cuts: It can be difficult to determine the severity of a cut during an eVisit. While MedStar eVisit providers may be able to determine if you need stitches, they cannot provide them virtually.
- Severe sore throat: When your throat hurts so bad that you have difficulty swallowing, it might be a sign that you have a condition that’s more serious than a cold. Make sure to visit an urgent care center for treatment.
- Sports injuries: These can range from an ankle sprain to a broken bone (we wouldn’t handle a dislocated shoulder) or an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. In most cases, we need to physically see your injury (and sometimes do imaging tests) to properly diagnose your injury.
In any life threatening emergency, go to the nearest emergency room (ER) or call 911 for immediate treatment. You should go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood or vomiting blood
- Shortness of breath
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Severe & persistent abdominal pain
Every patient is unique, so there may be times when you will need to seek follow up care after your MedStar eVisit at an urgent care center or the ER. The good news is that you and your family have more convenient access to health care options.