When it comes to a doctor’s visit, we all fool ourselves on the amount of time it takes. I’ll definitely be back for my 1 PM meeting or I can fit in an 8 AM appointment and not have to use any sick time. It almost never works that way. Traffic, waiting room lines, paperwork, and everything else all take time. You usually end up leaving hours later, wondering where the day went. So how long does getting medical care really take? Let’s take a look at how much time we spend at our current health care options for a common ailment, an ear infection:
The Primary Care Doctor
Your first choice is your primary care doctor. You call, and you’re in luck - they do have an available appointment this week, but it’s at 3:00 PM. Guess you’ll have to use some PTO. On the day of the appointment, you leave right before 2:30 because the office is 15 minutes away. You arrive, sign in, and get your paperwork. Since it’s the late afternoon, the doctor is running behind. Your name doesn’t get called until 3:30.
You check in with the nurse. They weigh you, check your blood pressure, and ask about medications and any changes to your medical history. 15 minutes later the doctor finally comes in to see you. The doctor takes 5 minutes to check your ears, confirm the ear infection, and write a prescription for an antibiotic. You check out, go back to your car, and drive back to work. When you sit back down at your desk to check the time, it’s almost 4:15.
You spent an hour and 45 minutes of your PTO for 5 minutes with a doctor to confirm what you already knew you had. And you haven't even picked up your prescription yet! That will take at least another 30 minutes on your way home.
The wait for an appointment with a primary care doctor is often over a week, so urgent care is your next best option. The urgent care is 20 minutes away, and depending on the time of day, it could be pretty full. The front desk staff tells you your wait will be over an hour.
You sit in the waiting room with other sick patients, watching bad TV and reading old, dirty magazines. When you finally get called back an hour and a half later, it takes another 15 minutes for the doctor to actually come to your room. After inspecting your ear and asking some questions, the doctor prescribes an antibiotic. You check out and head to the pharmacy to fill your prescription before driving home, which takes about another 45 minutes.
You’ve spent your whole evening at the urgent care just for an antibiotic, instead of spending your precious free time with your friends or family. Not to mention the costly co-pay.
The Emergency Room
The worst of the three, everyone dreads having to go to the emergency room. However, if the pain is bad enough, this may be your only option. Since your case isn’t that severe, your wait may last for hours. And it’s completely unpredictable. You might be next in line, but if a higher acuity case walks in, you’ll get bumped again.
Plus, when you finally get in to see a physician, that may not even be the end of your medical care. After treating your immediate pain, they’ll write you a prescription that you’ll have to go to a pharmacy to fill.
You’ve lost a night of sleep and paid an expensive co-pay - up to $1,000 for the visit.
Is there another way?
You may think this is inevitable. Everyone has to go to the doctor or urgent care or the ER at some point. It’s just a fact of life.
Telemedicine can actually replace about 70% of in-person doctor visits. Imagine - 70% of the time you will no longer have to drive to and from appointments, wait in waiting rooms, or waste your PTO for a simple prescription. And there’s not even a co-pay. You can’t always avoid medical care, but you can avoid the cost and inconvenience of in-person visits by using TelaCare.