Is Connect Care Right For Me?
Connect Care is a great way to get help for many urgent medical issues. While there are many things that can be done with a telehealth visit, there are some things—like a full physical exam and medical testing—that can’t. In some situations, a Connect Care provider might recommend going to an in-person visit to get further care. Read on for how Connect Care can help you:
Emergency Symptoms - NO
Connect Care is not intended for treatment of emergency medical problems. The American College of Emergency Physicians identifies several important symptoms that should lead to evaluation in the closest emergency department. If you’re experiencing any of the following, please call 911 or go to the ER:
- Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
- Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure lasting two minutes or more
- Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness
- Changes in vision
- Difficulty speaking
- Confusion or changes in mental status, unusual behavior, difficulty walking
- Any sudden or severe pain
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Coughing or vomiting blood
- Suicidal or homicidal feelings
- Unusual abdominal pain
Sinus Pain and Pressure - YES
Providers can do a thorough evaluation in most cases of sinus pain and pressure. They can discuss your symptoms and treatment options, including over-the-counter and prescription medications. Whether your symptoms are caused by an allergy, a bacterial infection, or a viral infection, Connect Care can provide a fast and effective evaluation of your sinus problems. Antibiotics aren’t always the answer for sinus pain and pressure, but if a prescription is warranted, your provider can issue one.
Allergic Symptoms - YES
Connect Care is a great place to get an evaluation for symptoms of seasonal allergies. Providers can discuss your symptoms and offer over-the-counter and prescription treatment options as needed. Note: If you are having a sudden allergic reaction due to a medication, food, or bug bite/sting, Connect Care is not the best place to be seen. Please go to the nearest emergency room for evaluation and treatment.
Sore Throat - MAYBE
Connect Care can provide an initial evaluation and, in some cases, treatment of sore throat symptoms. Many patients with sore throat symptoms are concerned about the possibility of strep throat and think they need an antibiotic. In fact, most patients with sore throat symptoms have a virus, so antibiotics won’t help (and might make the situation worse). The evaluation of sore throat symptoms frequently involves medical testing with a throat swab to test for streptococcal pharyngitis (“strep throat”), something that can’t be done over a video connection. Because of the possibility of side effects and antibiotic resistance, it has become an important part of patient care and public health to avoid giving antibiotics for sore throat without testing that proves strep is the cause. Connect Care providers will not issue a prescription for an antibiotic without appropriate testing. Depending on where you live, the provider may be able to arrange for you to have a strep test and a prescription (if necessary) waiting for you at an Intermountain lab and pharmacy without the need for another medical evaluation. If you don’t live near one of our testing centers, the provider will direct you to your primary care physician or a nearby urgent care or emergency department for care. Connect Care providers can discuss medications to help you feel better while we arrange for appropriate testing.
For adults: For patients over age 18, the need for strep testing depends on the nature of your symptoms. A provider can help you determine if strep testing is necessary, as well as discuss medications to help control symptoms while you recover.
For children: For patients under age 18, testing for strep is always required as part of a complete evaluation of sore throat. Providers can discuss where and when you should get strep testing, as well as discuss medications to help control symptoms while you recover.
Eye Infection - YES
Connect Care is a great place to get a preliminary evaluation for red eye symptoms. A red eye can be caused by numerous issues, ranging from allergies to infections and from minor to serious problems. If you are experiencing severe eye pain, significant visual impairment, or bleeding, or if you think there is a chance of a foreign body or trauma to the eye, you should be seen in person. If you don’t have any of those red flag symptoms, a Connect Care provider can discuss your symptoms, conduct a visual examination of the eye, and offer treatment based on the correct diagnosis. Treatment might range from symptomatic care with over-the-counter medications to antibiotic drops in the event of a bacterial infection. If there are other concerning symptoms, we can help get you to the right care setting promptly.
Ear Pain - MAYBE
Connect Care can be used for a preliminary evaluation of ear pain, but due to limitations in the physical exam in a telehealth visit (for example, in most circumstances, we can’t see inside your ears), complete evaluation of ear pain in Connect Care is difficult.
Many patients with ear pain worry that they have a bacterial middle ear infection (known medically as “Acute Otitis Media”). In fact, there are many cases of ear pain that are not caused by bacterial infection. In the past, many patients (particularly children) with ear pain were treated incorrectly with antibiotics for ear pain, leading to problems with side effects and antibiotic resistance. Connect Care providers will not issue an antibiotic prescription for possible middle ear infection, but they can discuss how quickly you need to be seen in-person and how to treat symptoms leading up to in-person evaluation.
In the event of ear pain due to other causes (such as external ear infection or allergies), Connect Care providers can offer safe and effective treatment.
Cough - YES
Connect Care is a great place to get an initial evaluation of a cough. A cough can be a symptom of many possible illnesses ranging from viral bronchitis or post-nasal drip to major issues such as pneumonia. Providers can do an evaluation of your symptoms to help determine how serious the cough is and whether further in-person evaluation is necessary. For minor causes of cough, such as bronchitis, providers can discuss ways to treat symptoms while you recover. Many patients worry that they need antibiotics to treat bronchitis. In fact, bronchitis is almost always caused by a viral infection, so antibiotics provide no benefit, but can lead to negative consequences such as side effects and antibiotic resistance. If a more serious cause of cough is suspected, the provider may advise you to be seen in-person for a full examination and possibly an X-ray.
Urinary Pain - MAYBE
For many patients, Connect Care can be a great place for evaluation of urinary pain. Depending on your age and gender, a provider may be able to diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI) and prescribe an antibiotic.
Adult women: Connect Care can often provide thorough evaluation and treatment of urinary symptoms for adult women with urinary symptoms. While a UTI is the most common cause of urinary pain in adult women, kidney infections can be serious if not treated quickly. If you are experiencing fever, mid-back pain, other alarming symptoms, or have a history of antibiotic-resistant infections, a Connect Care provider may recommend in-person evaluation to determine if it’s a kidney infection. If you’re not experiencing these symptoms, a provider may issue an antibiotic prescription to treat a simple UTI.
Adult men: In adult men, the evaluation of urinary pain is more complicated than it is in women. Typical urinary tract infection is far less common, and other issues (such as kidney stone or prostate infection) are far more likely. To make the correct diagnosis, in-person evaluation and laboratory testing is typically required. As a result, Connect Care providers will refer all men with urinary symptoms to in-person sites of care for evaluation and testing.
Children: Urinary pain in children can be caused by a variety of medical issues. Because of the complexity of diagnosing urinary pain in children, our providers would likely refer a child to in-person evaluation and testing.
Lower Back Pain - YES
Connect Care is a great place to get an evaluation of mild to moderate lower back pain. There are some symptoms (such as trauma, fever, excruciating pain, inability to walk, serious numbness in your legs, and a few others) that raise red flags about serious causes of back pain. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, in-person evaluation is probably best. But if you aren’t experiencing any of these symptoms, a provider can conduct an evaluation and recommend initial treatment.
Note: Providers do not issue prescriptions for controlled substances (such as opiate pain medications), but providers can discuss other options for pain control while your recover.
Minor Burns, Rashes, or Skin Infections - YES
A Connect Care visit is a great way to be evaluated for minor skin issues such as burns, rashes, or infections. After asking you questions to eliminate serious causes of your skin issue, your provider can view the affected area, make a diagnosis, and offer treatment. Using the camera on your computer, tablet, or smart phone, you can take a picture of your skin problem and send it to the provider prior to the visit (preferred) or you can show the area to the provider during the video visit. To help the provider get the best view of the skin problem, please make sure the picture has ample lighting and captures the best possible view of the affected area. If your rash, burn, or infection cannot be adequately or safely evaluated during a Connect Care visit, we can help get you to a provider than can see you in-person.
"I Need a Primary Care Provider" - NO
Connect Care is a great way to get care for urgent care issues, but taking care of chronic health issues (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and others) is not our main focus. If you are in need of a primary care provider, please visit Find a Doctor page to find a provider in your area.
“I Need a Refill of a Prescription” - NO
Connect Care is not designed to take care of chronic health issues (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma and others), so our providers do not generally issue refills of long-term medications. If you are in need of a refill of your ongoing medications, please contact your regular provider. If you are new to the area or need a new primary care provider for any other reason, please visit our Find a Doctor page to find a provider in your area.
Pain Medication or Other Controlled Substances - NO
As a matter of law, healthcare providers cannot issue prescriptions for controlled substances without seeing the patient in person. Because Connect Care visits are conducted over video, our providers are strictly prohibited from issuing these sorts of prescriptions. Commonly used controlled substances include medications for pain (hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, Norco, Percocet, Tramadol, etc.), anxiety/panic (alprazolam/Xanax, lorazepam/Ativan, clonazepam/Klonopin, diazepam/Valium etc.), muscle relaxants, and ADHD (Ritalin, Adderall, etc.). If you are in need of a refill of your ongoing medications, please contact your regular provider for refills. If you are new to the area or need a new primary care provider for any other reason, please visit our Find a Doctor page to find a provider in your area.