Intermountain urgent care clinics play a valuable (and less expensive) role in a family’s overall medical treatment with efficient after-hours service
It seems to be scientifically impossible for ear infections to develop during the regular office hours of any pediatrician. In addition, bones only seem to break after 5 p.m. And fevers seem to heat up on Saturday night.
Enter Intermountain InstaCare clinics.
Welcome walk-in option
These specially designed clinics are categorized neatly between your primary care physician’s office and the emergency room.
“Sometimes things happen during times when you can’t get into your primary-care physician — trampoline accidents, lacerations — that don’t require a trip to the emergency room, but are still urgent,” says Dr. Mark Wardle, an InstaCare physician practicing at the Springville location and moving to the Payson location after it opens in January. “Our goal is to take care of that urgent need and get you back to your family-practice physician.”
InstaCare clinics are walk-in medical treatment facilities that have extended hours — especially on weekends and holidays. They are staffed by quality physicians trained in treating the variety of conditions that walk through the door each day.
“If a condition is urgent but not serious enough to warrant a trip to the ER, InstaCare clinics are a cost-effective way to get treatment,” says Dr. Jordan Inouye, an InstaCare physician in the Springville location.”
Intermountain’s InstaCare physicians are experienced in emergency medicine, sports medicine and family medicine — the areas of practice where most InstaCare visits fall.
Understand what you need
While InstaCare clinics are well-equipped to meet non-critical medical conditions, they lack the sophisticated imaging, laboratory, pain management and skilled long-term monitoring capabilities found in an emergency room.
“It’s important for people to get the proper medical care in the proper location,” says Steve Nielsen, the clinic manager at the Provo InstaCare location. “We’re a less expensive option than an ER and we can take care of a lot of the stitches, sore throats and x-rays.”
Keeping medical costs down is a national hot-button issue and resonates with parents and families in Utah Valley as well.
Despite after-hours capabilities, skilled physicians and cost-savings over an emergency room visit, InstaCare staff are quick to point out that they are no substitute for the relationship and expertise of a primary-care physician.
“Nobody can replace the vital role of a family-care physician,” Dr. Wardle says. “They are key to managing chronic illness, helping prevent disease and understanding your family.”
The InstaCare can be a convenient supplement to a family’s healthcare needs. Some of the more common reasons for visits to InstaCare are respiratory concerns (sore throats and ear infections) and injuries including broken bones and lacerations.
InstaCare staff members are specially trained to offer triage services and help determine when a patient requires a trip to the emergency room.
While InstaCare clinics work hard to see a large volume of patients in a convenient and timely manner, there are times when one location is busier than another.
Intermountain’s new smartphone app (launching in early 2014) includes an InstaCare section with real-time wait expectations and a capability to get your name on the waiting list before you come to the clinic — Applebee’s style.
“You can check wait times from home, decide where to get treatment and then get your name on a list that allows you to do your waiting at home or running errands,” Steve says.
The app will be available on both Apple and Android and reflects Intermountain’s continued efforts to serve its patients more efficiently and effectively.
In the meantime, patients can call the county-wide call-ahead number (801-714-5585) to get a time slot and relieve some waiting.
“No one wakes up in the morning planning on making a visit to the InstaCare, so we’re just trying to make it more convenient when they do have to visit us,” Steve says.