It’s frustrating waking up with flu symptoms, feeling the start of a bladder infection or missing work due to a sick child. One thing is for sure, if you’re not feeling great, you want to get into the doctor quickly, to resolve symptoms as soon as possible. Sarah Brown, a vice president of operations for UnityPoint Clinic, gives four insider tips that can get you into the doctor's office quicker and back to feeling like yourself, before you know it.
1. Try an Advanced Practitioner
If your physician doesn’t have an opening the day you need to get in, try visiting with a nurse practitioner or physician assistant at your same clinic. In many clinics, advanced practitioners will help offer same-day appointments so you can get in at a time that’s convenient for you.
“I’m not sure people understand the role of our advanced practitioners,” Brown says. “Advanced practitioners work in a care team with our physicians, nurses and front desk team members. Each team member brings a different skill set to the synergy of the clinic. Our advanced practitioners are excellent providers, and if they ever need guidance or advice, they may go to their physician colleagues. This may work vice versa, as well.”
Plus, if you visit with an advanced practitioner that you particularly like, you can assign them as your primary care provider. It might make getting in for things like vaccinations and physicals a bit easier, too.
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2. Check Out Wait Times Online
Go online and check out the wait times tool. It’ll tell you how many people are waiting at UnityPoint Health urgent care, express care or ER locations in your community. If you’re on the UnityPoint Health desktop website, look for the green wait times tab on the left-hand side of the page. If you are on a mobile phone, the green bar stretches across the bottom of the page.
“Our goal is that you do not wait at all. We want to respect your time in every way possible,” Brown says.
3. Go with Virtual Care
Are you out of town on business? On a family vacation? Or simply only have one hour between meetings? Try having common conditions like pink eye, sinus infection, fever or flu treated by UnityPoint Health Virtual Care.
Plus, if you use Virtual Care during the day hours, you can even get paired up with a UnityPoint Health advanced practitioner. This type of virtual appointment only costs you $39 dollars or less. The provider you work with will find a pharmacy near you, if any medications are required.
“You can do it from home! You can use Virtual Care at one o’clock in the morning when your child has an ear infection and then stop at the pharmacy in the morning to get treatment started right away so you and your little one get back in business,” Brown says.
4. Use MyUnityPoint for Online Appointment Scheduling
The patient portal, called MyUnityPoint, has lots of perks, but it can help you get into the doctor faster by allowing you to schedule an appointment with your provider without even picking up the phone. You can just log on the website or app and find a provider you’ve seen before to schedule an appointment. Did you schedule an appointment for 3:30 p.m., then your boss scheduled an important meeting? No big deal! You can hop on the portal and change your appointment to another available time.
“My UnityPoint is easier than calling the clinic. Besides scheduling appointments, you can message your provider, pay your bill, refill your medications and check your lab results all at the swipe of a finger,” Brown says.
Need help setting up an account? Visit chart.myunitypoint.org to get started, or ask someone on your care team the next time you’re at the doctor and they’ll help you get setup. You can also have proxy accounts for anyone in your care, like kids.
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