I will do absolutely anything to avoid going to the doctor. I think it’s because I’m part of that sandwich generation, where my elders seem to schedule their social lives around doctor’s appointments, and my children think you can just watch a YouTube video and cure anything.
Let’s be honest here. My top reason for not wanting to go to the doctor is having to get on the scale. The whole process drives up my blood pressure and impacts my perfectly oblivious state of mind. I’ll try just about everything first to avoid asking for some help.
I recently had to visit a doctor because I needed to have something lanced. I’m not going to get any deeper into detail here, but there is a show on cable TV that shows a dermatologist building her practice around “popping” things that grow on our bodies. So that was the vision I had in my head.
I had already tried every Pinterest home remedy I could find. Nothing worked, so Monday comes around, and I finally decided I needed to see a doctor. Thankfully, I had several options for how to receive my “doctoring.” I like options. They make me feel like I have some semblance of control over what is happening.
Do you realize you have a menu of choices when it comes to seeing a doctor?
- Traditional primary care clinics. This is most likely the best option for all of us. Having a primary care provider who knows us well, understands our medical history, and has developed a care treatment plan unique to our own special needs is ideal. I have one, haven’t seen him in about a year so it is time again, but I do have one.
I didn’t choose this option for a few reasons. A.) His office is a bit of a drive. B.) I probably needed to get in that day. C.) I didn’t want to have to answer questions like, “What were you thinking?”
- House calls. Here in the Quad Cities, we are lucky to have some primary care providers willing to make house calls. This particular practice is targeting those who have mobility challenges, like aging patients, but hey, if you like this idea, check it out.
Again, not a good choice for me because there is some lead time needed to make an appointment. Check with your local health systems to determine if there are house call primary care practices available in your area.
- Virtual Visits and Telemedicine. Because technology is our friend, many insurance plans are offering members the ability to use their smart phones (sorry, Dad, not the flip phone), tablets, or computers to consult a doctor, 24/7 and 365 days a year, wherever you are. This option can help with well over 50 health conditions, but I didn’t choose this one because I thought the doctor would need to perform a procedure.
I’m sure someday we’ll all be going online to order a robotic arm accessory for our phone so a doctor can remove our appendix. Someday, but not today.
- Convenient or urgent care clinics. This is the option I chose after discovering that I could go online and choose my time slot. I also discovered that sometime over the summer, a brand-new clinic opened up about 1,000 feet from my residence. It even had a little clock showing how long the wait times were if I had just walked in off the street. No lines, no waiting, no commute, no excuses not to go.
I scheduled a 9:30 a.m. appointment and was off the scale (I didn’t look) and in the examining room by 9:40. The doctor checked me out and laughed at my Pinterest mishaps. I was out by 10:10 a.m. and off to the pharmacy.
So the moral of the story here is pretty simple: Doctors and other healthcare professionals want to help you get better. It’s pretty much what they do, and they went to school for a lot of years to learn how.
Healthcare professionals understand that the modern lives we live can complicate fitting an office visit into an already full schedule. In an effort to meet you where you are, they’ve gone to great lengths to offer options to suit your needs. Location options, options around operating hours, options using technology. Let them help you (like I eventually let them help me).
Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.