I love my primary care doctor. She's smart, great at her job, and really patient with me when I ask questions like "What are hiccups?" But much as I love her, she's of course not available to me 24 hours a day. In fact, unless I have an appointment with her, she doesn't generally have the availability to see me on an on-demand basis.
So when I suddenly come down with something that needs a doctor's attention, I'm generally on my own. And that's how it is for most Americans with the national average wait to get an appointment at a shocking 18.5 days.
Since the just-give-it-a-couple-of-weeks approach to urgent medical conditions isn't always the best idea, you might need to see a doctor faster. If that sounds like you right about now, here are the four ways you can get seen by a doctor the same-day:
Option #1: Online doctor visit
This is generally the fastest way to see a doctor. And with the ability to diagnose, treat and even prescribe - it can also be the most efficient. Of course, we're partial to our own service. The doctors that practice on American Well have an average of 10-15 years of experience and are well-practiced in seeing patients online. Plus, the average wait time is under three minutes.
Option #2: Urgent care
But if you need to see a doctor in person, you should consider urgent care. These retail settings serve the exact purpose their name suggests: urgent medical care. The downside is these places can get expensive, especially if your insurance doesn't cover the visit. Your best bet is to call your insurance company or check their website to find a location that's in-network for your coverage.
Option #3: Walk-in clinic
Similar to an urgent care, walk-in clinics were designed to primarily treat the uninsured and the underinsured. As a result, they are often much more affordable than urgent care but typically have longer waits and less versatility.
Option #4: Emergency room
If you're experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, or other possible serious symptoms, you should go to the emergency room. It's probably not what you want to hear as ERs are notoriously expensive and crowded but the truth is that you'll be in the facility that's equipped to handle even the most severe health care conditions.
Do you need to see a doctor? Doctors on Amwell are available right now.