Provider’s office, telemedicine or urgent care? Where to turn for help

By Brittany Risher


When it comes to addressing your health needs, you have options. Take our quiz to learn the best route for your situation.

Fever. Aches. Accidents. Strange symptoms. When something changes with your health, you know you need some kind of care. But do you call for an in-person exam? Ping your health care provider for a virtual visit? Hop in the car and head to the urgent care clinic down the road? 

These days, you have plenty of options when you need medical attention. Telemedicine appointments are quickly becoming routine and many medical offices are now offering these types of visits to their patients. Check with your provider’s office to see if they offer telemedicine services.

While there’s not necessarily a wrong choice — all of these providers will be able to help you — different situations call for different solutions. Making a smart decision in the heat of the moment can help save you valuable time and money. 

So what’s your plan of action? Take this quiz to learn the best route for some common medical scenarios.

1. You’ve had a cough for a few days and developed a fever overnight. It could be the flu — or COVID-19. What do you do?

A. Schedule an in-person visit with your primary care provider (PCP).
B. Make a telemedicine appointment.
C. Go to an urgent care clinic.
D. Head to an emergency room or call 911.

2. Earlier in the day you missed a step outside your door. You didn’t fall, but now your knee is throbbing and slightly swollen. What do you do?

A. Schedule an in-person visit with your primary care provider (PCP).
B. Make a telemedicine appointment.
C. Go to an urgent care clinic.
D. Head to an emergency room or call 911.

3. Lately you feel like you need to use the bathroom more than normal. But often when you get there, you don’t pee that much, and it burns when you urinate. What do you do?

A. Schedule an in-person visit with your primary care provider (PCP).
B. Make a telemedicine appointment.
C. Go to an urgent care clinic.
D. Head to an emergency room or call 911.

4. While cooking dinner, you accidentally spilled some boiling hot marinara sauce on your arm. What do you do?

A. Schedule an in-person visit with your primary care provider (PCP).
B. Make a telemedicine appointment.
C. Go to an urgent care clinic.
D. Head to an emergency room or call 911.

5. The dosage of your blood pressure medication was recently changed, and you’re wondering if this new rash is connected. What do you do?

A. Schedule an in-person visit with your primary care provider (PCP).
B. Make a telemedicine appointment.
C. Go to an urgent care clinic.
D. Head to the emergency room or call 911.

6. For the past few weeks, you’ve been feeling more irritable and having trouble concentrating. You’re also tired and have lost interest in your hobbies. What do you do?

A. Schedule an in-person visit with your primary care provider (PCP).
B. Make a telemedicine appointment.
C. Go to an urgent care clinic.
D. Head to the emergency room or call 911.

7. You’re sweating, short of breath and having chest pain. What do you do?

A. Schedule an in-person visit with your primary care provider (PCP).
B. Make a telemedicine appointment.
C. Go to an urgent care clinic.
D. Head to an emergency room or call 911.

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