Today’s healthcare environment offers more access and care options than ever before. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that more options can mean more confusion. The healthcare terrain can be difficult to navigate, and knowing when and where to go for treatment challenging.
“Healthcare is constantly evolving to better meet patient needs. In the past you went to the emergency room or your doctor’s office. Now, everything is much more specialized and there are many more care settings,” explains Kimberly Megow, MD, chief medical officer for HCA Healthcare MidAmerica Division. “While that’s advantageous for patients, it can also be confusing and difficult to know where to go for care.”
HCA Midwest Health has taken aim at that confusion and complexity with the launch of Care Navigator, an easy-to-use free online health triage tool that gives you clear healthcare direction simply and conveniently. Care Navigator guides you through a series of in depth questions about your, and then based on the responses, presents the care options to best fit the situation.
Whereas healthcare choices were limited to ERs and doctors’ offices in the not-too-distant past, urgent care centers have been expanding across the country since the 70s and walk-in medical clinics began popping up in the 2000s. Today, care choices include the doctor coming to us through virtual visits, an option that’s still relatively new, but becoming more and more popular.
“This breadth of options offers HCA Midwest the opportunity to educate patients and simplify their experience. We know that patients may be going to the ER when they could really be treated in an urgent care setting. Or going to an urgent care when their issue could be treated with a quick online virtual visit. Care Navigator is designed to alleviate some of the confusion and help patients know where to go for the best value,” describes Dr. Megow.
The Care Navigator tool will you to the best healthcare setting for your situation – a doctor’s office, urgent care, emergency room or even a virtual doctor’s visit – or let you navigate your own care path.
Virtual doctor visits – The “housecall” of the digital age
It’s no secret that life moves fast. People are busy and always looking for options and services that can help them save time. In our role as Kansas City’s largest health system, we are committed to providing a full spectrum of health services, including new services that better fit your busy life. That’s the thinking behind the launch of our new virtual health visits.
A virtual health visit is an online video call with a licensed doctor or advanced practice provider (APP). It is a quick, convenient way for you to see a healthcare provider in the comfort of your home.
“Health issues rarely happen at convenient times,” states Dr. Megow. “Offering virtual visits gives our patients another care option that can fit around their lifestyles and schedules.”
Available 24/7, our virtual physicians and APPs can treat people six months and older. They can offer medical advice, prescribe medications or, when they deem it necessary, direct you to an in-person care setting. Virtual healthcare providers are able to treat lower acuity conditions such as:
- Sinus issues
- Sore throats
- Minor burns
- Cold & flu
- Bladder infections
- Rashes & skin
Another advantage to HCA Midwest’s virtual visit is you are able to try it without financial risk. Unlike many other online health services, if our virtual provider is unable to treat you or a loved one, the $45 cost of the visit will be refunded and you will be directed to in-person care.
“While utilization of online health visits is increasing every year, it is still a relatively new healthcare offering, so patients may be hesitant to try a visit for the first time. To make this type of visit less risky for patients, we decided to remove the financial barrier,” describes Dr. Megow.
Healthcare made easier
At HCA Midwest Health, we never stop looking for ways to improve healthcare. With the launch of Care Navigator and virtual visits, knowing where to go when a loved one is sick just got easier.