Sponsored content provided by Dr. Margaret Turner from Annapolis Pediatrics
1. Urgent care centers or convenient-care clinics (like those located inside retail stores or pharmacy chains) are staffed with providers who generally treat adults not children.
- Urgent cares, especially retail based clinics or national chains, tend to be staffed by family nurse practitioners, who generally have clinical skills for treating adults. Your pediatric providers are staffed by practitioners who specialize in the care of children.
2. Urgent care centers don’t have your child’s health history or medical record.
- Even if you see different providers at your primary pediatric office, they have your child’s whole record in front of them. For example, if you can’t remember what antibiotic your child had for their last ear infection or how many times they have had strep this year, your provider can check that in the office. In addition, they can check their tetanus shot record if the child suffers an injury, or even review if the child has had significant weight loss (which is often a marker for a more chronic or serious disease that may appear to be a virus to someone who doesn’t have their growth chart).
3. Pediatric providers offer greater flexibility with same day sick appointments than adult primary care.
- Many adult primary care doctors often don’t have easy availability for sick appointments, but pediatric providers have appointments open all day, every day. This includes early morning, later evening, and weekend hours to accommodate the vast numbers of sick kids that need to be seen.
4. When visiting urgent care, your child may not receive accurate medication and/or correct dosing.
- It is common to see overuse of antibiotics or inappropriate dosing of medicines used to treat asthma or other causes of wheezing. There are many instances where an urgent care practitioner just cannot keep up with the often rapid changes in recommendations described in the literature as best practices.
5. Going to your primary pediatric provider can ensure not only quality of care but can ultimately save you time and money.
- While an occasional trip to urgent care can certainly help avoid long waits and higher copays at the ER, you are far more likely to get the best care at your child’s pediatric office. It is extremely rare to not get a same day appointment with a pediatric provider if you call their office before noon. If visiting an urgent care first, families often return to their pediatric office for follow up. This now costs you twice the money in copays and twice the amount of time in health care visits.
As a convenience to parents, many pediatric offices offer a sick “walk in” hour first thing in the morning. This is a great way to have your child seen by your own primary office without waiting all day for an appointment.
Starting May 1st, as an added benefit for our patients, Annapolis Pediatrics is excited to offer Walk- In Visits from 7:30 am and 4:30 pm Monday – Friday in our Annapolis location (only). This allows families greater flexibility with easy accessibility and great care at their medical home. These visits are intended for quick, acute problems, such as: ear pain that started overnight, cough for a few days, fevers, asthma exacerbation without respiratory distress, minor injuries, rashes, etc.
Remember, finding a great primary care pediatric office that can provide both acute and chronic care for illnesses (as well as preventative visits) in a timely fashion may seem daunting, but is often closer than you realize.
Dr. Margaret Turner is Managing Partner with Annapolis Pediatrics and has been with the practice since 2001.