To get the best health care, Janice M. Horowitz, a health reporter, recommends becoming a skeptic rather than a cynic.

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To get the best health care, Janice M. Horowitz, a health reporter, recommends becoming a skeptic rather than a cynic.

Q&A with Doctors in the Health Care Industry

There are several elements to consider when you’re unwell and deciding whether or not to go to the doctor, especially with the Delta variant lingering and increasing. Is it necessary to visit an urgent care facility? Should you wait to see your primary care physician? Is telehealth preferable to a face-to-face consultation? How do you make your decision? In this Q&A, this website speaks with Janice M. Horowitz, a seasoned former Time health reporter and host of public radio’s Dueling Docs: The Cure to Contradictory Medicine, about these challenges and other methods to take control of your health. In her latest book, Health Your Self, learn more about the forces at work in the background that can jeopardize care (Post Hill Press, September 21).

Urgent care facilities are quite convenient. Should your primary care physician be your first port of call? Even if it means waiting for an appointment for days (or longer)?

Don’t delay if your symptoms point to COVID. Sure, call your doctor, but make haste to a testing center for a nose swab. Unfortunately, every symptom, including lethargy, vomiting, and even sniffles, is now considered questionable.

For splinters, mild burns, bug bites, suspicions of a bone break, and even modest chest problems, urgent care outweighs waiting for your primary physician. However, because your family doctor is familiar with you, she is always a better choice in general and whenever something she is monitoring flares up. Don’t be afraid to ask to be crammed in.

How do you assure continuity of care if you do go to urgent care? What do you need to do after that to keep your doctor informed?

Urgent care should send a report to your doctor, as well as instructions on how to proceed. Many people choose to disregard the counsel. It’s understandable if the issue is temporary, such as an earache. For anything more serious, though, be a good patient and contact—or at the very least speak with—your family physician.

What are some of your greatest tips for being forceful with medical experts without offending them?

Always remember to be courteous. Doctors are humans, too, and they respond better to patients with whom they have a positive relationship. And don’t even insinuate that you’re the sort to file a lawsuit. This is a condensed version of the information.

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