December 27, 2006

just a minute

Last week, I caught my usual Christmas cold that went to the usual sinus infection, but instead of trying to deal through the maze of folks at my doctor's office, I visited our local Minute Clinic. This was my first time to try Minute Clinic, so I didn't really know what to expect. It went like this:
7:50:00 a.m.Arrive at Minute Clinic
8:00:00 a.m.Minute Clinic opens
8:00:20forms filled out
8:01:00 a.m.the Physician's assistant sees me
8:03:00 a.m.completed temperature, blood pressure (127/78, thank you), ears and throat examination
8:03:30 a.m.exchange upcoming Christmas stories
8:04:00 a.m.prescription printed, BCBST billed
The longest part of the whole visit followed, waiting for the prescription to be filled.

Minute Clinic really does live up to its name, and it fills a great gap between a primary care physician and an emergency room - when you need care quick, but not emergently. The PA was efficient and professional, and didn't challenge any of my self-diagnosis. When I get a sinus infection, I know what I have, and I know what I need. When she handed my prescription to me, she said "you can have this filled at any pharmacy that you like." Of course, there's one 10 feet away.

I highly recommend the Minute Clinic concept... and I hope some other folks get on the bandwagon soon to up the competition and drive down prices!

3 comments:

famdoc said...

"I know what I have and I know what I need"?

Sinus infections are one of the most over-diagnosed infections in medicine and result in needless antibiotic prescriptions. Sure, when a cold lasts more than a few days and you feel clogged and headachy all you want is quick relief from your misery. But, truthfully, most self-diagnosed sinus infections are just colds running their natural course and a few more days of rest, fluids, humidified air and, maybe, some multi-symptom over-the-counter sinus remedies will do the trick.

I'm all for patients and doctors being partners in health care, but a patient who "knows what I have and knows what I need" really needs a medical degree and not a doctor.

Christina said...

Thanks, Patrick for the review.

I know what I have and what I need 1-2 times a year also. Obviously "famdoc" doesn't have a job or small childrent to take care for, if he can take a few days off to rest when he/she gets a sinus infection.

I don't like to take a lot of prescriptions, so I usually wait until my symptoms are full blown to make sure it's not a cold. But when my head is about to explode, I am too dizzy to drive, and my body aches so bad I cry when I walk, it's time to seek an antibiotic.

Last year I had to wait over an hour in the doctor's waiting room while my toddler was touching every germ in sight and I was about to pass out. I cried the whole time I was in so much pain. This year I will be opting for the minute clinic also!

Anonymous said...

I'm the last one to opt for the doctor route since, for us, it's not a $20 copay, but a full-blown $250 bill whenever the doctor says "good morning". You have to love these new HSA's. They let you pay ALL the bill yourself! Anyway...
I had a nasty case of pneumonia a few years ago. In fact, the doc said that I should have been in the hospital. So when my cold turned into the same exact set of symptoms as what started the pneumonia, I also "knew what I had and I knew what I needed". Sorry, famdoc. Let someone else risk their life hoping that another day of bedrest and humidifier treatment makes the sickness goes away. You've obviously not had pneumonia.

Went to the Redi-Clinic (same as the minitclinic concept) and, yes, I had bronchitis and walking penumonia. And no, it wouldn't have gone away w/o antibiotics.

I'm not one to advocate self-diagnosis for everything, but the level of information for an informed consumer is much greater than it was just a few years ago, and the treatment options are greater than the old method of waiting in the waiting room to see the family doctor ("family doctor" Ha! what's that).

I think I sense the gatekeepers of the old system getting nervous.

Jason