Convenient care starts with a primary care physician
In recent years, convenience has become a selling point that resonates with consumers in multiple industries. Online shopping, remote payment apps, and mobile ordering at restaurants all emerged as consumers looked for ways to manage their busy lives. Many may not realize, however, that healthcare has taken cues from these other industries, and good health and convenience now intersect.
Key to finding convenience in healthcare is partnering with a primary care physician.
“Primary care doctors are your healthcare ‘point person,’” says Ashley Okotie-Eboh, MD, a family medicine physician with Memorial Hermann Medical Group at Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Greater Heights. “We get to know our patients and their personal health history. We also are a resource for coordination of care between providers and continuously educate our patients on prevention, as well as disease and risk factor management.”
Primary care physicians encourage patients to have annual wellness visits, so they can check on any changes in their health that may be cause for concern. Primary care physicians also coordinate screenings, vaccinations, and conduct a physical examination, checking for high blood pressure, respiratory problems, heartbeat abnormalities, and weight gain, and assess patients’ mental health. Additionally, they order blood tests to check for high blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and other important indicators of potential health problems.
“Wellness visits are part of your health story,” Dr. Okotie-Eboh says. “They help us gather information so that when you come in sick, we’re more likely to understand what may be going on and how to treat it, knowing what medications you take regularly and your lifestyle.”
Having a primary care physician may also open up the convenience of a virtual visit, which allows you to be seen by your primary care doctor from the comfort of your own home, using a secure computer connection.
“The pandemic really sped up the adoption and acceptance of virtual visits,” Dr. Okotie-Eboh says. “Having the option of a virtual visit for our established patients can speed up treatment and encourage people to seek care when their illness is likely more manageable.”
People who delay care often wind up in an urgent care center or the emergency room, sicker than if they had seen a doctor at the onset of symptoms. Virtual visits can be convenient for:
- Upper respiratory symptoms, such as those associated with the common cold
- Follow-up appointments
- Mental health visits, especially follow-ups
- Evaluating rashes that can be easily seen on a computer camera
Dr. Okotie-Eboh says that not all situations can be managed through virtual visits, though. These include:
- Chest pain, which should be evaluated immediately
- New or worsening symptoms
- Neurologic symptoms, such as weakness or numbness
- Abdominal pain, where the cause is uncertain
In addition to virtual visits, Memorial Hermann has implemented other services that offer convenience to patients seeking care from their primary care physician.
Dr. Okotie-Eboh’s office location in the Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center at Greater Heights is deliberate. Having a Memorial Hermann Medical Group clinic within the Convenient Care Center provides convenient access to multiple specialties in one facility. The Center offers orthopedic services, physical therapy, radiology, urgent care, and a laboratory, so if patients need additional services, they’re familiar with the location.
Memorial Hermann Medical Group also offers online appointment scheduling and has set aside specific times for doctors to conduct virtual visits. Moreover, lab hours and nurse visits are available so that patients don’t need to wait for an appointment with a doctor to have blood work or speak to a nurse about medications, concerns, or have a follow-up appointment.
Finally, Dr. Okotie-Eboh encourages patients to use the patient portal for communication with their doctor outside of appointments. The portal can be used to ask questions, request prescription refills, and send and receive documents over a secure computer network.
With many convenient options for accessing care, Dr. Okotie-Eboh reminds people to take advantage. “Establishing a relationship with a primary care physician helps patients easily access these convenient services, leading to a comprehensive, preventive, and educative environment to help people optimize their health,” she says.
Take charge of your health and find a primary care doctor today by visiting https://memorialhermann.org/primary-care.