According to the CDC, 40 million Americans were diagnosed with influenza last season, and experts are telling us to brace ourselves for an exceptionally harsh 2019-2020 season.
The current flu season in Australia shows record illnesses and deaths – with more than 200 deaths and 100,000 confirmed cases so far – which means that the number of people who catch the illness in the U.S. could spike to a record high this flu season, which technically began in October.
The flu is nothing to sneeze at and getting a flu shot is our first and best defense against this fast-spreading disease. Although you can get the flu shot at any time, CDC guidelines tell us October is the best time to get it. That gives your body enough time to develop a response to the vaccine before flu season peaks. Even if you miss this timeframe, it’s still good to get your vaccine.
If the true flu – or any of the other cold or tummy-related ailments that hang about during this time – hits your household, a fast diagnosis is critical. In fact, experts say that you should call your doctor or be seen as soon as symptoms such as fever, aches and cough appear, to get on flu treatment to limit duration and severity.
Knowing where to go when you or your loved ones have flu-like symptoms can sometimes be confusing and downright tough. Just when you need convenience and quick access, flu season can mean busier doctors, longer waits, and more crowded ERs and urgent care centers.
HCA Midwest Health has introduced a solution to solve that dilemma and help you find the care you need this flu season – Care Navigator. This convenient and easy-to-use free online health triage tool can connect you with the right care when you need it, simply and quickly.
Pointing you in the right direction
When you or a family member is sick, it’s not always clear if you need to see someone, or where you should go – ER or urgent care? Doctor’s office or virtual visit? Care Navigator can help you figure that out. Available 24/7 and accessible on any device, it helps you determine the best place to go – or not go – for your health issue, quickly and easily:
- Go to HCA Care Nav or log in to Care Navigator from your MyHealthONE patient portal.
- The tool prompts you through a series of detailed questions about your condition and symptoms.
Based on your answers, Care Navigator directs and connects you to the most appropriate care setting:
- Helps you find and make an appointment with a doctor
- Finds a nearby CareNow urgent care center and gets you checked in
- Shows you locations and wait times for HCA Midwest’s 11 ERs
- Directs you to our new virtual visit service
Virtual doctor visit – The doctor is in… your home
When appropriate for your symptoms and condition, Care Navigator can quickly connect you with a doctor via online video call for a virtual visit. This effectively puts the physician in the “same room” with you, allowing the doctor to see and talk with you and examine the symptoms and conditions, a great option when you’re feeling under the weather or have sick kids.
- Virtual visit is staffed 24/7 with medical providers who treat patients six months and older.
- Your virtual healthcare provider can offer medical advice and prescribe medications, and in cases where symptoms or conditions warrant, may send you to the doctor, urgent care or ER.
- The cost of a virtual visit is $45, but if the virtual doctor is unable to treat you through the video consult and feels your condition means you should go to an in-person physician, emergency room or urgent care, that cost will be reimbursed.
Your care, your way
Even though Care Navigator offers options and recommends a point of care based on your symptoms, you make the final call for your treatment, and through the tool, can navigate yourself to a virtual visit or another point of care if you wish.
We’re ready for the flu…and everything else
Whether it’s the flu, a bad cold, a sports tumble or any other medical issue, we’re here for you and your family with 11 full-service emergency rooms, 9 urgent care clinics and more than 35 primary care doctor locations in the Kansas City area.