When convenience care may be the best option
For patients experiencing sudden onset symptoms or acute conditions, such as illness or broken bones, they might think a trip to the emergency room is in order since it may be difficult, or even impossible to be seen by a family medicine provider on such late notice. Convenience care at Olmsted Medical Center aims to bridge that gap in care options.
Convenience care provides patients with two additional tiers of care options: FastCare clinics, which can be found in each Shopko shopping center, and Acute Care, with locations in OMC’s northwest and southeast clinics.
Convenience care provides the opportunity for patients to be seen and treated for acute conditions outside the ER, offering a more time and cost efficient experience.
While patients can be seen on a walk-in basis, the convenience goes a step further with utilization of the clinic’s online interface. This allows patients to reserve a time online in advance so a healthcare professional is ready to assess them as soon as they walk in the door, which is especially handy for patients with a busy schedule. It will even notify you via text message if the appointment is running late so you can spend more time going about your day and less time sitting in a waiting room.
“I think it’s a real convenience for our patients ... who have an acute condition and are looking to seek immediate care without having to go to the ER,” says Debra Groth, a nurse practitioner at OMC’s FastCare clinics. “It’s great for people with fast-paced lives, not having to schedule an appointment or wait in the ER to be seen.”
FastCare is also convenient for preventative care, as they offer sports physicals and a range of vaccinations including tetanus, influenza and meningococcal, in addition to screenings for certain illnesses.
“Years ago a patient would make an appointment to be seen or try to wait to be seen or they would go to the ER to be seen for these things,” Debra explains, “so this is offering another alternative and efficient, convenient care option.”
Acute Care clinics, located inside Olmsted Medical Center NW Clinic and SE Clinic, are the next step in convenience care.
Nathan Benn, a Physician Assistant at OMC’s Acute Care clinic explains that “Acute Care is a happy medium between the emergency department and either family medicine or FastCare.”
It all comes down to resources. Acute Care has more X-Ray and lab work resources than FastCare, but fewer than the ER.
If you’re experiencing anything from sinus infection symptoms to broken bones to animal bites or abdominal pain or want to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, visiting Acute Care is the place to go.
If it looks like you need a higher level of care, clinic providers like Debra and Nathan will refer you to right place, keeping in communication with providers in convenience care, the ER and family medicine to maintain the highest possible quality of cohesive care.
“I find that family medicine now is more for purposes of follow-up and screening and chronic disease management,” Nathan explains. “So I think that’s where the model of FastCare and Acute Care comes into play. We want to be an extension of family medicine so that we can see patients for an acute need and if any follow-up is indicated, for them to get plugged back in with their primary provider and get them informed of that episode of care.”
“I really like the interaction with the patients and having an active problem-solving aspect of the job,” Nathan adds. “There’s a reason I chose the profession that I did and I find that I have a lot of professional satisfaction from helping patients in an acute time of need.”
Nathan is one of many providers at OMC who strives to be a “down to earth provider who wants to help and is sitting in a chair listening to [patients] in an unrushed examination. I think that’s what the patients deserve.”
When it comes to care at OMC, the goal is to treat patients efficiently and effectively, providing them the care they need outside of the ER as much as possible so that patients get better faster without taking a hit to the pocketbook. That’s exactly what convenience care is here to accomplish.
This article is part of a series sponsored by Olmsted Medical Center.
Cover photo by Madison Conte