Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Real World: What a Rapid-Care Walk-In Clinic & EHR Looks Like Today

In this blog, I share a personal experience - trying a modern walk-in clinic and noting the efficiency of their Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems.

Walk In Care

One significant shift in healthcare is the move towards making basic care more accessible. More and more we see walk-in clinics in pharmacy chains or large retailers. In California, the landscape is shifted. We're witnessing the rise of new, innovative walk-in clinic brands.  I'd guess there are five different ones within 1-2 miles of my house in mid-city Los Angeles, plus Cedars Sinai medical center runs a large free-standing walk-in center as well.    

My first visit to one of the new chains.   

For five weeks, I had been battling a night-time cough, untouched by dextromethorphan, thinking every week just had to be the last and I'd be over it.  So yes, I could have visited my internist, the five mile drive and the wait for an appointment made the prospect less appealing, and I assumed the result would be the classic and common "it's viral, no antibiotics, keep in touch."

My experience at the clinic ("Rapid Doc"; here) was very good. I walked over; check in took two minutes and within ten minutes, I was seeing a board-certified ER doctor in a Zen-like contemporary examination room. The physician was thorough, posing 15 to 20 questions in a well-practiced stream.  The exam matched the complaint and after discussing "it's just viral?" we opted for trial with doxycycline for a possible mycoplasma infection. (And I was 90% better in 48 hours). 

Pretty Cool EHR

Besides the efficent experience, I was struck by the EHR system in place.  I was handed a three-page printout of my EHR. I was pre-programmed to expect verbose, generic, and templated content. But I liked it: the record was detailed and tailored specifically to nuances of my visit and medical history. It was generated within a couple minutes of our 15- minute visit. For those curious, I've "fearlessly" uploaded the EHR PDF, revealing.... that I'm 5'7" and take hydrochlorthiazide for BP.