Having a “healthcare home” means your health information is organized and managed by the same doctor and his or her team. This is also sometimes called “medical home” or “primary care doctor.” The healthcare system is complicated, and it’s not always easy to know where to go when you need something. Having a healthcare home makes things easier.
What if I really need to go to the Emergency Room?
There may still be special situations when you need to go to the Emergency Room. Keep these tips in mind:
Call your doctor even if it’s after hours. Even if your clinic is closed, you should still call first. Some clinics have an after-hours call system for you to talk with a real person who can give you suggestions for what to do. Or there might be a recorded message that gives you suggestions for an urgent care clinic that your doctor recommends.
For serious life or limb threatening conditions (if you may die or lose an arm or leg), go to the Emergency Room. Otherwise, follow these recommendations: If you go to urgent care or the Emergency Room, the doctors will not know about your health history (your story), and you may be sent an expensive bill. Use these pictures to help you decide between going to your primary care doctor, urgent care or the Emergency Room.
Your doctor is always your starting point for any health needs, including physical, emotional and mental health.
Get Regular Care
Your doctor knows when you need screenings and other procedures. You should go to the doctor at least once a year to get help taking care of yourself.
Your Doctor Knows Your Story
You will develop a relationship with your doctor, and you won’t have to retell your story every time you see someone new.
If you need special medical help or have other personal needs your doctor can’t help with, they can help you get an appointment with someone who can.
Going to your healthcare home is much less expensive than the emergency room, urgent care or a minute clinic.