Where to Go for Care? Vanderbilt Total Health Has the Answers

Now that warmer weather is luring us outside, injuries, allergies and other ailments will likely be on the upswing. But figuring out the best place to go for health care can be tricky. Should your employees take their ailment to the emergency room, or would a walk-in clinic be a better option? What kind of conditions are better suited to scheduling a doctor’s appointment than going to urgent care?

The nurse navigation services of Vanderbilt Total Health (VTH), which offers area employers a high-touch, personalized experience for their workforce, can help patients determine the most appropriate care and help them get it faster throughout the Vanderbilt Health System.

“Navigating health care options can be difficult, but understanding where to seek care is important for your well-being,” says Yolonda Powell, RN, nurse navigator for VTH. “There are a lot of easier, less costly options for medical treatment than the emergency department.” She offers the following guidelines for ensuring timely and appropriate treatment:

  • Primary care: Primary care is often referred to as your "medical home," the place to manage chronic conditions and diagnose new conditions, including referrals to specialty care, as needed. So for routine family medical care or minor ailments—such as cuts, insect bites, mild sprains, mild fevers, sore throats, bug bites, skin infections, poison ivy or swimmer's ear—it’s best to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician (PCP).
  • Urgent care: Problems that need prompt (but not immediate) treatment—such as cuts needing stitches, minor burns, and urinary tract infections—can be treated at a walk-in or urgent care clinic. Urgent care is also a good option when a regular provider is not available.
  • Emergency care: For serious conditions that threaten life or limb, including severe injuries, trouble breathing, and suspected heart attack or stroke, seek immediate help at the emergency room (ER).

For more decision-making help on where to go for care, check out this article from My Vanderbilt Health.