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It can be as minor as a paper cut or as serious as a puncture wound from a dog bite. Any wound that creates an opening in the skin can become infected. If you notice signs that your open wound is infected, here's what you can do next. 

What is an infected open wound?

An open wound is an injury to the skin that leaves underlying tissues exposed. 

The skin is an important barrier that protects our internal tissues and organs from potential injury from the world around us. Compromising the skin barrier invites bacteria and other microorganisms into the body.

An infected open wound is a skin injury in which disease-causing organisms have invaded healthy tissue surrounding the wound. Infection of the wound triggers the body's immune response, causing inflammation and tissue damage and slowing the healing process.

Infected open wounds may show signs and symptoms, including:

It is important to identify signs of an infected open wound to seek the proper treatment. 

Treatment options for infected open wounds

It's possible to treat most open wounds at home. The best care for an open wound is to keep the site clean and dry. Common over-the-counter treatments for open wounds with mild signs of infection include:

If you are unsure how to treat your wound at home, talk with a healthcare professional about your injury for evaluation and treatment. 

Wound dressings are also an important part of at-home care. Dressings or bandages protect open areas from getting dirty and can also speed healing. 

Today, many traditional wound dressings (such as cotton bandages) are being replaced by new innovative dressings that promote the optimal environment for wound healing. For basic wound care, don't be confused by the variety of wound products at the drugstore. Choose a bandage that fully covers the wound and change it every 1-2 days or when it is wet or dirty. With each bandage change, wash the area with warm water and mild soap to remove dead tissue or drainage.

The goal is to encourage your body's natural healing process.

When to seek medical attention for an infected open wound

Although you can treat most wounds at home, there will be times when you should seek medical attention for an infected open wound. 

Contact a qualified medical professional if you notice these signs or symptoms.

  1. Fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Increasing pain 
  3. Pus or smelly drainage from the wound
  4. Redness spreading outward from the injury site
  5. A wound that is not healing after seven days

Also, if the injury was caused by an animal bite or a rusty object, you should seek medical treatment as early as possible. Telemedicine providers offer a fast, affordable, and convenient way to see a doctor about your wound without leaving home.

Many private insurance companies and federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid cover telemedicine services

Summary

In short, some open wounds can be cared for at home. You can buy wound washes, ointments, and sprays online to bandage the site and encourage the body's natural healing process. However, if you have a wound that looks infected and are worried, you should talk to a medical professional. 

My Virtual Physician offers video consultations with expert doctors and wound care specialists on staff for new and chronic infected open wounds.  

Learn More

Contact us now to find out how you can book your free or low-cost appointment for wound treatment.

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Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this site are not intended to substitute diagnosis or treatment by a medical professional. Always seek the advice of a licensed physician for any questions you may have regarding a specific condition.

Sources:

"Infected Wounds". woundsource.com. Accessed June 28, 2022.

"Management of Acute & Chronic Wounds". pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed June 28, 2022.

"Treatment Strategies for Infected Wounds". ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed June 28, 2022.

"8 Signs and Symptoms of Wound Infection". woundsource.com. Accessed June 28, 2022.

 

Sarah Falcone, BSN, RN, WCN-C, CSWD-C, is a certified wound care nurse, nursing consultant, and health content writer in Fort Worth, TX. She works with clients in home health, wound care, and telemedicine. Sarah is a passionate advocate for moving advanced levels of care to the home, where her clients can safely receive the medical treatments they need with greater satisfaction and comfort. She focuses on patient experience, outcomes, and advancing clinical models using innovative technology to serve patients better. Sarah draws from 15 years of practicing patient care and nursing leadership to share her own nursing experiences and expertise online. Connect with her on LinkedIn!

A leaky bladder can put a damper on life. The never-ending cycle of bathroom breaks tempts you to hold back from enjoying a full-bellied laugh with your friends or an intense group workout at the gym. You’re not alone┈bladder control problems are common in women–but you shouldn’t have to limit your life like this. And the good news is, you don’t have to; urinary incontinence is a treatable condition.

My Virtual Physician’s team of Las Vegas gynecologists wants to help provide the solution to your leaky bladder situation. In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of stress incontinence, its causes, and provide our recommended remedy.

What Is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)?

Urinary incontinence is a medical condition that affects your ability to hold or control your bladder and the flow of urine. There are many types of urinary incontinence:

Each type of urinary incontinence has a different cause and treatment. In this article, we are focusing on one type: stress incontinence. Stress incontinence happens when you abruptly leak urine as you:

Stress urinary incontinence, or SUI for short, affects more women than men. The woman’s urinary system is more prone to weakening of the pelvic muscles that keep the bladder sealed. Some of the reasons that women have a higher prevalence include anatomy, childbirth, and hormonal changes which are all unique to women. Risk factors that tend to lead to stress incontinence include obesity, neurological conditions, trauma, certain medications, and childbirth.

How Can I Manage a Leaky Bladder?

Many women believe that there is nothing that can be done to prevent or treat stress incontinence. They manage the condition by wearing pads or protective underwear just in case. Pelvic exercises are an inconvenience and surgery seems too extreme without a guarantee to fix the issue, so many women accept leaky bladders as part of aging–but it doesn’t have to be.

There are insertable devices that can be used to strengthen and support the urinary organs, muscles, and tissues; these are called pessaries. They are usually made of silicone or another medical-grade material and are used to reposition the urethra and help prevent incontinence. Traditionally, these devices are selected and fitted by your physician. However, today, there’s a new product on the market that is making pessary access available to more women, more easily: it’s called Uresta.

Uresta is a reusable bladder support device that can be self-fitted by you, the patient. It is comfortable, easy to insert, and comes in five different sizes, with three common sizes included in the starter kit for initial fitting. If the starter kit sizes are not a perfect fit for your body, the other sizes are available to you for free at your request. Uresta has proven effective for the majority of women who have tried it. The numbers speak for themselves:

How Can I Get Uresta?

My Virtual Physician’s Las Vegas OB GYNs are strong believers in providing patients with the tools they need to manage their women’s healthcare needs–without jumping through hoops. That’s why we advocate for the Uresta pessary device. You don’t have to come into an office for an awkward fitting appointment; you can self-fit from the privacy of your own bathroom.

If you struggle with stress incontinence and would like to see if Uresta is your solution, we’d like to help. Schedule a virtual appointment today with a Las Vegas gynecologist at My Virtual Physician to discuss your options, get your Uresta prescription today, and get your life back.

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Telemedicine gained a foothold during the pandemic. By the end of 2021, digital doctor visits had increased by 63% over two years, according to a government study. And the trend seems to be holding strong, with many physicians and facilities–Las Vegas gynecologists included–continuing to provide telehealth access, post-pandemic.

While telemedicine has proven valuable and trends show that it’s here to stay, there are some limitations. In this blog, we’ll briefly cover some obstacles inherent to telehealth along with our proposed solution: hybrid clinics.

Limitations of Telemedicine-Only

While telemedicine was literally a life-saver throughout the pandemic, it comes with its limits. The most glaring limitation is the lack of a hands-on physical exam. For standard consultations, this is usually not an issue; but if certain diagnostic services are required, like pelvic exams or getting labs done, it gets a little trickier.

Another problem that telemedicine presents is patient access. Telemedicine requires some expensive equipment that not all patients have on hand; that we often take for granted. A virtual visit requires the following:

Even if you do have this equipment, you still must count on many factors to be in working order to participate in telemedicine appointments.

Related: Telemedicine Improves Access to Prenatal Care, But Can We Improve Access to Telemedicine

A third limitation of telemedicine is simply that some patients prefer the traditional visit to a doctor’s office. An in-office visit to a clinic where a real person is physically present to assist is preferable to some, especially those who are technology-illiterate, have certain disabilities, or struggle with the English language.

For those who feel telemedicine is not suitable to meet their comprehensive healthcare needs, hybrid clinics provide another pathway. My Virtual Physician is embracing this new solution, which offers our patients a new healthcare experience where they can have their gynecology or other healthcare needs met right there on the Las Vegas strip.

What is a Hybrid Medical Clinic?

A hybrid medical clinic is a physical building that offers some of the same services that you would expect from a traditional in-person doctor’s visit while also providing the equipment to meet virtually with your doctor. My Virtual Physician’s hybrid clinics are located at:

Our hybrid clinic will open its doors to walk-in patients as well as those who schedule an appointment. As you enter the clinic, our Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) will welcome you, take your vital signs, and collect any urine samples, if required. You’ll then be guided into a private room where the telehealth equipment is set up for you to meet virtually with our board-certified physicians. Our staff is here to help in the event that you need any further assistance.

Just a handful of the additional services that we can provide inside our hybrid clinics include the following:

*by appointment only when a nurse or specialist is required

Related: My Virtual Physician’s List of Women’s Telemedicine Services

The Value of In-person Healthcare Services

My Virtual Physician is excited to offer this new hybrid option to patients who prefer the in-person experience or who do not have access to the special equipment required for virtual visits or special services. While we understand that the hybrid clinic is not for everyone, or maybe just not for every visit, we have made it a priority to provide a physical alternative to the fully digital world of telemedicine.

Our intention is to provide value to our patients by offering in-person services as an option at our hybrid clinics. We deliver this as a solution to the limitations we find in telemedicine alone. Our hybrid clinic provides a nearby physical hub for specimen collection, as well as ultrasound, for prompt confirmations and diagnoses.

Our hybrid clinics will provide a safe, private, and well-equipped place for you to meet virtually with your OBGYN in Las Vegas to discuss your health needs. Come visit our friendly staff at our two hybrid locations today!

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There is one thing that all women have in common: periods. But every year, over a million of those women enter a new stage in their life when their periods cease to exist–a certain special interlude called menopause.

While menopause marks a new phase in life, getting there isn’t quick or easy. The process of going through the menopausal transition takes around four years on average and can bring with it a roller-coaster of emotions.

Every woman deserves to know what to expect in menopause and how to endure the change as pleasantly as possible. Our team of Las Vegas gynecologists is here to help. Here, we will cover the basics of menopause and how your doctor can assist during this important progression of your reproductive lifecycle.

What is Menopause?

You’ve probably experienced a mature woman talking about hot flashes, an uncomfortable symptom experienced by 75% of menopausal women. And you probably understand that menopause is the stage when a woman’s body stops ovulating permanently. But other than hot flashes and the end of fertility, what is menopause really? Menopause is commonly defined as “the cessation of menstruation.” Well yes, but there’s a little more to it than that.

There are three major phases of menopause that take years to complete:

Menopause is the natural and gradual process that every woman experiences when her ovaries reduce the production of reproductive hormones and stop releasing eggs.

How Do I Know if I’m Entering Menopause?

It’s the changes in hormones that cause menopausal symptoms. During perimenopause, your body will gradually decrease estrogen production. Here are some common symptoms that could be signs you are entering perimenopause:

Your age, along with the above symptoms will help you and your Las Vegas gynecology team identify if you’re experiencing the first signs of your menopausal transition. Most women’s bodies begin the process between the ages of 45 to 58 years old, reaching menopause at age 52 on average.

Your doctor can order lab tests that measure hormones in order to determine whether you are entering menopause. Hormone levels during perimenopause can be very unpredictable. These tests are usually only needed if you suspect early menopause.

Caring for Yourself During and After Menopause

More than two-thirds of women say that their menopausal symptoms have interfered with their quality of life. Here are some natural tips to help during your transition:

If you’re still experiencing discomfort, our Las Vegas OBGYN team is available to provide guidance as well as additional options to manage your menopausal symptoms. Some treatments include hormone therapy, mood-stabilizing medications, and prescription supplements.

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Life after periods begins a whole new era. While you won’t have to worry anymore about getting your period or using birth control to prevent pregnancy, postmenopausal women tend to have a higher risk for osteoporosis and cardiovascular problems due to the changes in hormones. Prepare for menopause early and take care of your body along the way so that you can continue to enjoy every moment of your life post-menopause.

cash in woman's hands

How much are you paying for your healthcare? Healthcare in the United States is expensive. In fact, it’s so expensive that over 90% of Americans purchase or apply for medical insurance just to offset the cost of care.

If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to the traditional model, we have great news for you–it is possible to get affordable OBGYN care in Las Vegas–even without health insurance. Let’s review the traditional model of healthcare expenses that we’ve all begrudgingly accepted up until now, and then we’ll cover the new path forward.

The Traditional Cost of Medical Care

Do you know how much your next doctor appointment will cost you? If you’ve ever called ahead to get a quote, you likely got a confusing answer or none at all. Seeing your doctor in the traditional sense can be expensive and many factors influence your out-of-pocket cost, even for a simple diagnostic exam with your Las Vegas gynecologist, such as:

All factors considered, without health insurance, you’ll likely pay between $200 to $500 after all is said and done for just a simple appointment at a brick-and-mortar facility. Even with health insurance, you’ll still be on the hook for paying a large sum of cash until you exceed your deductible. That’s just for one appointment; imagine if you had an ongoing condition requiring regular physician monitoring–this paints the picture clearly of why health insurance came into existence.

Related: No Health Insurance? No Problem.

The Cost of Health Insurance

Health insurance was originally designed to help offset the patient’s out-of-pocket costs for medical expenses. It generally works like this:

  1. You pay a monthly premium to the insurance company
  2. You receive care from a participating doctor at a discounted rate
  3. You pay 100% of the care until meeting a deductible amount agreed upon with the insurance provider
  4. You pay a portion (for example, 20%) of qualified medical bills after your deductible is met
  5. Your insurance covers 100% after you meet your out-of-pocket max

While you can get health insurance on your own, if you’re working a traditional job, you probably depend on your employer for your health insurance. Many employers offer to subsidize a portion of a health insurance plan as an employee benefit. If this isn’t an option for you, you may have looked into the government marketplace.

If you’ve checked out the HealthCare.gov plans and pricing, you’ll quickly realize how unaffordable medical insurance has become. Family premiums are over $400 per month for plans with a high out of pocket max and high deductibles–both exceeding $8,000 per year. That means you could spend as much as $5,000 per year on premiums plus another $8,000 on healthcare for a total of $13,000 per year. This model has become unsustainable.

Telemedicine Brings an Affordable Option to the Table

Luckily, there is a new model for affordable healthcare and technology is paving the way. The acceptance and advancement of telemedicine, a new way to see your doctor, has been drastically accelerated by the pandemic. Virtual doctor visits are creating a new alternative to the traditional model of unaffordable medical care. There are many reasons telemedicine makes healthcare more affordable, including:

Besides the cost savings, there are countless other benefits to moving healthcare visits online including time savings, elimination of the commute, less disruption to your routine, privacy, comfort, and much more.

Related: Telemedicine: An Advantage for Patients & Providers of Prenatal Care 

My Virtual Physician’s Las Vegas OBGYNs

So how much will an appointment with one of My Virtual Physician’s Las Vegas OBGYNs cost you? Our pricing is simple and transparent. We offer appointments as needed for a flat rate for quick things like renewing your annual prescription or getting a UTI treated. If you have ongoing care needs, we offer individual, family, and employee membership levels that allow unlimited visits for a flat fee. You can explore our current rates here, where you’ll find all of our pricing transparently available to you.

With My Virtual Physician, you won’t need to pay insurance premiums and there are no surprises about how much the appointment will cost. We promise our patients affordable access to the best Las Vegas gynecologists right from the comfort of your own home.

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Conclusion

Healthcare doesn’t have to be unaffordable. The old model is breaking down and being replaced with one that works for both patients and providers. My Virtual Physician is proud to be a quality Las Vegas OBGYN provider that anyone can afford.

 

So you’ve heard the acronyms OB and OBGYN, but have you put much thought into what the terms mean? In this blog, we’ll cover what an OBGYN is exactly, what an OBGYN does, and then we’ll share some details about our team of Las Vegas OBGYNs.

What is an OBGYN?

OBGYNs are doctors who specialize in the female reproductive system. The acronym can be written several ways:

All of these are acronyms for “obstetrician-gynecologist.” Let’s break that down. Obstetrics and gynecology are broken into separate terms to describe whether the woman under the physician’s care is pregnant or not. In other words–if you’re pregnant, you’re going to your OBGYN for obstetrics care; if you’re not pregnant, you’ll go for gynecology.

What is an Obstetrician?

The obstetrician part is where we get the acronym OB. Obstetrics is the practice of meeting the medical needs of women during pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery. Obstetric care also includes prenatal monitoring of the baby while in the womb. At birth, newborn care is handed over to a neonatologist and soon thereafter, medical care of the infant is transitioned to a pediatrician. Obstetrics requires close monitoring of the growing baby from a few weeks after conception to birth, including:

An OBGYN will continue to care for the new mother during the postpartum period to monitor that her body heals and that postpartum depression, if present, is managed.

Related: Telemedicine in Prenatal Care: What to Know About Seeing a Virtual Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB-GYN)

What is a Gynecologist?

The second part of the OBGYN acronym is the gynecologist. A gynecologist specializes in caring for women’s reproductive systems. This can include diagnosing and managing ongoing conditions, such as painful or irregular menstrual cycles, or short-term needs such as regular STD testing. Gynecology also includes the implementation of contraceptives such as IUDs or birth control pills. Here’s a list of gynecological services that My Virtual Physician’s Las Vegas Gynecologists provide:

As the breasts are a part of the woman’s reproductive system, gynecologists also conduct cancer screenings.

The Training Behind the OBGYN

There is a lot that goes into becoming an OBGYN. A bachelor’s degree plus four years of medical school is the basic requirement for medical doctors. OBGYNs must complete an additional four years of residency, to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. That means your OBGYN has at least 12 years of training and education under his belt before licensure.

Once all education and residency requirements are met, OBGYNs must pass state-specific licensure exams. The exact requirements vary depending on the state. Board certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology is not required, but this endorsement shows your OBGYN’s competence and commitment. In order to maintain voluntary certification, your OBGYN has to take a maintenance exam every six years.

Our Team of Las Vegas Gynecologists

At My Virtual Physician, we currently have two board-certified OBGYNs ready to see patients. Let’s get to know them a little better.

Dr. David Howard, M.D., Ph.D., CEO, OB/GYN

Dr. David Howard is the CEO and founder of My Virtual Physician. He is a board-certified OBGYN licensed in several states including:

Dr. Howard, a Jamaican native, achieved the following education and credentials:

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Johns Hopkins University)
  2. M.D. and Ph.D. in Epidemiology (Medical Scientist Training Program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine)
  3. Internship (New York-Presbyterian Hospital)
  4. Residency in OBGYN (University of Missouri-Kansas City)
  5. Post-doctoral fellowship in epidemiology (North Carolina Chapel Hill)
  6. Board-Certification

In addition to his training, Dr. Howard has been named a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Read more about our doctors.

Dr. Radihka Sharma, OB/GYN

My Virtual Physician is proud to have Dr. Radihka Sharma serving our patients with their obstetrics and gynecology needs. Her education was completed at Saba University School of Medicine with residency at Aultman Hospital. She is board-certified and specializes in pelvic floor disorders and reconstruction.

Conclusion

OBGYNs provide essential healthcare services for women. With this blog, we hope that you have a better understanding of the services that your Las Vegas OBGYN can provide for you, whether it’s gynecology or obstetrics.

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woman with laptop standing at dresser with coffee cup

So you’re living in Las Vegas and looking to get established with an OBGYN to get your annual gynecologist appointment out of the way. In the past, this meant a phone call to a clinic, an assignment of a doctor by the facility or answering service, and the promise of an appointment scheduled a month or longer down the road. You really did not have much choice in the matter.

Today–the landscape of choosing your healthcare team is changing–and you have options. Despite the anticipated physician shortages, you can still find an experienced and competent OBGYN in Las Vegas. But that’s not all you should be looking for when choosing your gynecologist. Let’s explore your options.

Why do I need a gynecologist?

Throughout a woman’s life, she will need to see a doctor that specializes in the female body and its reproductive system. The frequency required may change depending on the life stage and any ongoing conditions. Starting at puberty, if a young woman has any complications with menstruation, or later on seeks prescription contraception for pregnancy prevention, it’s often her gynecologist that helps with those needs.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends annual screenings for sexually active women under 25 and exams every three years for women over 21.  However, you don’t necessarily need a pelvic exam every year.

Here are some of the reasons you might decide to schedule an appointment with a Las Vegas gynecologist:

Seeing a gynecologist is a life-long obligation in a woman’s life and it’s a relationship that sees through some of life’s biggest milestones together–from puberty to having your first baby. You might as well make the most of it and spend some time shopping around and hand-selecting your own OBGYN in Las Vegas that meets your needs and criteria.

Getting Established

Once you’ve decided that it’s time to schedule your first appointment with a Las Vegas OBGYN, you might go one of two ways. Traditionally, you might decide to go online and find a nearby clinic, and call to set up an appointment; it’s a shot in the dark. While this may work for some women, there are many downfalls to the old-fashioned method including:

Luckily, there is now an alternative to the traditional way that puts the power back into the patient’s hands. You can take control and establish a relationship with a Las Vegas OBGYN of your choosing; one that you trust. Here is the new way to shop online for your gynecologist.

See your Las Vegas OBGYN entirely from the comfort of your own home through telemedicine virtual appointments. We encourage you to look around and compare your online options. We’ve done some searching of our own and we know that our patient’s testimonials speak for themselves. Read on to see what factors to consider when looking for a good gynecologist.

Related: Not All Online Women’s TeleHealth Websites Are Created Equally

Factors to consider when looking for your Las Vegas OBGYN:

Your relationship with your gynecologist is a very unique one. You have to be able to trust your doctor with very private, personal, and even taboo information. Our physicians prioritize professionalism along with connection. Generally, when you see a doctor in-office, you’ve invested so much time and effort that you will settle for less than great experiences with your OBGYN. When you expand your possibilities to include online gynecologists, you accomplish a few things at once to your benefit:

  1. Spend less time invested in scheduling, commuting, and waiting
  2. No obligation to stick with a doctor with poor bedside manner because you’re less invested
  3. Drop financial burden and insurance requirements
  4. Eliminate anxiety about pelvic exams

Providing a comfortable environment is natural when you can speak with your physician online from the comfort of your own bathroom or office. Your comfort level is essential when seeing your gynecologist; if you’re not comfortable discussing your health concerns or needs, it may prevent you from being able to articulate all the information to the doctor for a properly informed assessment.

When you schedule an appointment at a physical office setting, you’ll have to consider the office hours and whether the clinic is open when you’re available–or if you’ll need to take time off work. You’ll also likely be left in limbo regarding the cost of the visit with traditional doctors who rely mostly on insurance contracts with variable care rates. When you choose your OBGYN online, you’ll know the cost of your care up-front and we’ll work with your insurance if you have it, and we’ll work with you if you don’t. We also have hours more conducive to working women.

Finally, choose your Las Vegas Gynecologist based on competence. You need to be able to count on your OBGYN to listen to your healthcare needs and get your diagnosis and treatment right. You can check credentials, such as which college they attended and board certification, and search their license status to see if there are any marks against their record. Testimonials or reviews are another great way to determine competence before you commit to a visit. A pattern will emerge from testimonials to help you gauge the physician’s competence.

About our Las Vegas Gynecologists

At My Virtual Physician, we are excited about the changing landscape that telemedicine brings to the healthcare realm and we exist to provide solutions to our patients. We currently have two board-certified OBGYN Las Vegas doctors: Dr. David Howard and Dr. Radihka Sharma. Dr. Howard is passionate about research in the field and is dedicated to finding the best outcomes for his patients. Dr. Sharma specializes in pelvic floor disorders and she is also a certified Life & Wellness coach. Both of our gynecologists have a track record of providing quality care. Learn more about our doctors or read testimonials here.

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There is a healthcare crisis. A shortage of workers has left thousands without the help that they need. Here’s a look at how the home care shortage is affecting Reno residents. 

Homecare Worker Shortage 

A scarcity of homecare workers is hitting home in many parts of Nevada. A recent article reported that the pandemic fueled a shortage of home health workers. Patients are left without the care they need. A few trends are driving this crisis in home healthcare, including:

The president of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC-H) recently summed up the industry-wide concern, “everyone is experiencing shortages, particularly around nursing and home health aides. Some agencies are rejecting as many as 40% of referrals.” Home health companies just can’t find staff.

Homecare Staffing Challenges in Reno, NV

Well, this is not news to many seniors and people living with disabilities in the Reno area. Two years ago, the Guinn Center Report warned that the demand for home health services had increased. It estimated a shortage of over 5,300 home care workers by 2026. Moreover, it called the current system “broken.” At that time, the median hourly wage of $11.07/hour made it difficult to attract workers. 

Today the median wage for home health and personal care aides is $14.15/hour.

Nevada homecare workers work too hard for too little, with inconsistent training and safety standards. These factors make it hard to bring new workers to the field. 

Nurses are also in short supply. A September 2021 report by the Associated Press said that Nevada’s shortage of nurses was worsened by the pandemic. It left nurses demoralized and drove some to leave the profession.

The Future of Home Care in Reno, NV

There is no relief in sight. In fact, Marketplace.org said last month that America’s home health industry is in crisis. The population of seniors in the US is rapidly growing. It is estimated that by 2040, the group of Americans over age 65 will double, and those over 85 will quadruple.

The state of Nevada is in even more dire straits. According to the Nevada’s Elders Count Report 2021, Nevada continues to see higher growth rates in the population of older adults than the rest of the US. Furthermore, Nevada’s growth rate for the age 85 and older population is double the national rate. Seniors and those living with disabilities in Reno, NV, will find it hard to get home care due to staffing shortages for years to come. Without major changes, the future remains uncertain.

Increasing Access to Home Care in Reno, NV

Telemedicine is one solution to the home care worker shortage. My Virtual Physician, the top telemedicine provider in Nevada, is improving access to care in Reno. The company recently launched an innovative program for Reno residents who need in-home services. The MVP Virtual House Call is an answer to the home care shortage.

The MVP Virtual House Call service sends a mobile medical assistant, paired with a virtual doctor, into the patient’s home. House Calls include:

They are currently accepting new patients for the new program. 

Summary

While the future of home care remains unclear, Telemedicine is one way for patients to get the in-home care they need. 

 

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Sources:

Elders Count Nevada 2021 Report”. adsd.nv.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Guinn Center Report”. seiunv.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Home Health and Personal Care Aides”. bls.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Low wages and high costs clash in the home health care crisis for aging Americans”. marketplace.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Nursing shortage in Nevada”. usnews.com. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Pandemic-Fueled Shortages of Home Health Workers Strand Patients Without Necessary Care”. khn.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

The US Population Is Aging”. urban.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Soon healthcare may look more like the care your grandparents and their parents received.

A century ago, physicians went to the patient, not the other way around. In fact, during the 1930s, nearly half of all doctor visits took place in the patient’s home. So, what happened? And why are physician house calls making a comeback?

What Happened to Physician House Calls?

Nearly a century ago, it was standard practice for a doctor to visit a sick or injured patient. Sometimes patients couldn’t travel long distances because of the time and cost of traveling. As a result, physicians made house calls.

But following World War II, there was a decline in physician home visits. By the 1950s, house calls dropped to 10%. By 1996, house calls accounted for only 0.5% of doctor visits.

One of the main reasons for this change was that house calls were time-consuming. Traveling doctors spent valuable hours getting to and from patients rather than treating sick patients.

Another reason for the decline in house calls was financial. Around 1996, the standard insurance reimbursement for a physician house call was $87, even though home health skilled nurses ($97), physical therapists ($99), and occupational therapists ($102) received more per visit for in-home care.

Starting around 2000, Medicare and Medicaid increased physician reimbursement for home visits. As a result, between 2000 and 2006, the number of physician house calls to Medicare beneficiaries doubled. Still, the number of physicians making house calls continued to decline.

The Resurgence of Physician House Calls

Interestingly, a new generation in healthcare is again embracing the physician house call. Research has shown that house calls are invaluable to medical practice. They give doctors personal gratification while improving patient satisfaction. 

Here are a few more reasons that house calls are making a comeback:

Home-based primary care, as it’s known, is becoming popular again. Fortunately, it’s just the right time.

The Need for Physician House Calls

One reason for the house call reprise is a growing need for in-home services.

It is estimated that 10,000 baby boomers will join Medicare every day until 2029. The fastest-growing age group in the US is those aged 85 and older, projected to quadruple by 2050.

Over half of this population has impaired mobility. The US homebound population is skyrocketing. Experts suggest it will double over the next 20 years.

There is a clear need for homebound services. But the elderly and infirmed are not the only ones that need physician house calls. Often, caregivers can’t find time to get to a doctor for their own health needs. Physician house calls are a solution for many.

 The Ability to Perform Expanded House Call Services

Another reason that house calls are making a comeback is better technology. Thanks to recent advancements, Doctors can now perform many diagnostic tests in the home. These include:

Physicians now have more tools to help them make fast and accurate diagnoses in the home. 

Another benefit of technology is that doctors can view medical records virtually anywhere. Secure mobile apps and programs allow them to set up mobile offices. Providers can fax, scan, and retrieve documents in seconds. House calls are easier now than in days past.

Payment Changes for Physician House Calls

Payment reform is another reason for the rise in physician home visits. In 2000, payments for house calls were increased. And in 2006, Medicare added new billing codes, which further increased provider payments. Then, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) increased payments for telemedicine visits.

Today, doctors and other providers are starting or expanding house call practices to meet the need and growing demand in the healthcare system.

Physician House Calls Benefit Patients

Studies have shown that physician house calls benefit patients in many ways, including:

 Research also shows that patients appreciate the personal touch of a physician who meets them in their homes.

Virtual Physician House Calls

According to the Home Centered Care Institute, over 7 million people in the US need house calls, but only 15% can access services. Undoubtedly, telemedicine will continue to increase access to healthcare.

The best example of this is MVP’s Mobile Virtual Physician Visit. This innovative house call solution provides the benefits of a physician house call with added advantages of flexible scheduling and convenient appointments.

In the Mobile Virtual Physician Visit model, a certified medical assistant goes to the patient’s home and performs “hands-on” services, vital signs, and lab work. At the same time, they bring in a video device that allows the doctor to consult with the patient as if they were there. Patients get to ask questions. And doctors can view the home environment or even perform a home safety evaluation. Patients with chronic diseases can see their doctor weekly or every other week without the expense or trouble of leaving home.

Modern services are combining high-quality healthcare with new ideas. These innovations are the future of healthcare. And the resurgence of physician house calls will also play a role in these changes.

 

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Sources:

65+ in the United States: 2010”. census.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Home Centered Care Institute”. hccinstitute.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

House Calls Are Reaching the Tipping Point- Now We Need the Workforce”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Housecalls to the Elderly – A Vanishing Practice”. nejm.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

“More House Calls by Fewer Physicians”. jabfm.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Rising Demand for Long-Term Services and Supports for Elderly People”. cbo.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

“The family physician and homecare”. pubmed.ncbi.nm.nih.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Trends in Physician Housecalls to Medicare Beneficiaries”. jabfm.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Imagine for a moment that you are sick or injured. And for whatever reason, you’re unable to get to the emergency room or doctor’s office. You start to worry– but then you remember hearing about mobile urgent care. And you think to yourself, “what is that, anyway?” 

Urgent care can now be mobile. Mobile urgent care is a healthcare service for urgent illnesses and injuries that sends medical providers such as physician assistants or nurse practitioners to the patient. Rather than evaluating a patient in a free-standing urgent care clinic or medical facility, mobile urgent care services travel to homes, apartments, assisted living facilities, and other residences.

The convenience of mobile urgent care makes it an attractive option when you want to see a doctor, but is it the same as traditional urgent care in terms of cost, services, and quality? Mobile urgent care is a good thing. But it is not the best choice when you need a doctor or have a chronic medical condition. Read on. I’ll explain.

Mobile Urgent Care Cost

In general, the cost of a mobile urgent care visit is similar to that of an in-person urgent care visit. According to Dr. Franz Ritucci, President of the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine, the average cost of an urgent care visit is $100-$150, depending on the insurance co-pay and the level of treatment. Depending on how the mobile urgent care bills the visit with your insurance, the cost is typically the same.

If you don’t have health insurance, ask your provider about the out-of-pocket responsibility. Mobile urgent care visits usually include diagnostic testing. For example, the provider might collect a urine sample. The price for additional tests varies. However, some mobile urgent care services perform visits based on a flat fee.

Mobile Urgent Care Services

Nearly a century ago, it was standard practice for a doctor to visit a sick or injured patient at their home. House calls declined in the 1950s but are making a resurgence, and for good reason. Many of the tests and treatments that patients need can now be administered in the home setting. 

When you seek urgent care for an illness or injury, you want to find out what is wrong with you. That may mean lab work or diagnostic scans to determine how to proceed with treatment. Thanks to advancements in medical technology, many diagnostic tests can now be performed in the home. 

Some of the treatments that mobile urgent care provides include:

In addition, mobile units can administer medications like injections or antibiotics. If you need an X-ray to check for a bone fracture, you can even have a mobile X-ray done in your home. Echocardiograms, ultrasounds, and pulmonary function tests can also be obtained without leaving home. One recent study in the American Journal of Cardiology found that mobile echocardiograms were an effective way to reduce in-person visits to the emergency room and hospital.

Mobile Urgent Care Quality

So far, mobile urgent care seems like a great alternative to a doctor’s visit, right? Well, not quite. Patients want to know that they are getting the best treatment. Here’s where you will see that mobile urgent care might not be the best choice.

Walk-in urgent care clinics are managed by doctors, nurse practitioners (NPs), and physician assistants (PAs) who diagnose and prescribe treatment for patients. You will most likely get an NP or PA, but you might get to see the doctor.

Mobile urgent care services use NPs and PAs to perform in-home visits. While they are experienced and are good at what they do, there are some more serious injuries or illnesses that should be seen by a doctor.

Mobile Virtual Physician Visits

If you live in the state of Nevada, you have another option. It’s called the Mobile Virtual Physician Visit.

My Virtual Physician, the leader in telemedicine, recently launched a unique solution for Nevada residents who need mobile care and want to see a doctor. Their home visit program gives patients the best of both worlds. They get the convenience of an in-home visit and the presence of a top-rated, board-certified medical doctor.

Like the mobile urgent care model, the Mobile Virtual Physician Visit sends a medical professional to the home. But unlike other mobile urgent care providers in the area like Dispatch Health and Doctor Oo, My Virtual Physician allows patients to talk to a highly-rated doctor in real-time through video technology. A medical assistant performs the “hands-on” services, like vital signs and lab draws. They serve as a go-between for the patient and the doctor.

The best part about this option is that it is ideal for all patients. If you have a sudden injury or a long-term health problem and need more than an urgent care visit, the Mobile Virtual Physician is a good choice for you. Even if you don’t have a serious illness and you just want to skip the waiting room to see a doctor, now you can. 

Summary 

Next time you need to visit urgent care, consider using mobile urgent care instead– or, if you’re in Nevada, think Mobile Virtual Physician. These are truly the best options when it comes to quality, services, and cost. 

 To find out more about the Mobile Visiting Physician, click to chat now.

 

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Sources:

Emergency Rooms vs. Urgent Care Centers”. debt.org. Accessed May 3, 2022.

Usefulness of Mobile Electrocardiographic Devices to Reduce Urgent Healthcare Visits”. Sciencedirect.com. Accessed May 3, 2022.

 

Getting sick while you are traveling or on vacation can de-rail an experience that was planned to be exciting and fun.  Nobody plans to visit the doctor while vacationing in Las Vegas.  Many people pack general painkillers in their luggage; but what happens if you have something more serious than a headache while traveling?  If you’ve found that you’re in this situation, this article will give you the answers you’re looking for including:

Recognize Your Body’s Warning Signs

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are a common illness that affect women more often than men.  This type of infection is caused by bacteria in the urinary system (urethra, ureters, bladder, kidneys). The most proactive thing you can do, if you are traveling and think you might be coming down with a UTI, is to pay attention to any symptoms.

Some of the common symptoms of a UTI include:

Don’t Wait for the Warning Signs to Get Worse

This step is very important! At the first sign of any of the above symptoms, stop immediately at the next exit and grab some supplies to get you on your way to feeling better.

Flush Your System

The best thing you can do for immediate care is to re-hydrate your body to help flush out the urinary system.  Grab a 6 pack of bottled water, drink, pee, and repeat. Holding your urine in your bladder for too long can encourage the bacteria to multiply.  Flushing water through your system helps to both rehydrate your body and flush bacteria out.

Prepare with Over-the-counter Medications

There are several over-the-counter medications geared toward helping with UTI’s. Some are strictly for pain management and others claim to help dissipate or prevent UTI’s. At a minimum, pick up some pain killers geared toward relieving urinary tract infection discomfort; you’ll want to have this on-hand in case your pain becomes worse. Usually, these medications are kept in the aisle with the menstrual care items.

Once you have taken the first steps toward healing your UTI, you may want to call in to your Virtual OBGYN to get an appointment on the books to make sure the infection is gone and get a prescription if necessary.

Schedule an Online OBGYN Visit

Traditionally, seeing your doctor while you were out of town was out of the question or limited only to emergency room visits.  Today, if you are lucky, your brick and mortar physician might call-in a prescription for you; but more than likely they will require you to go into a facility for an evaluation.  This adds delay and frustration to getting care and getting back on the road.

The best way to get quick medical attention for your UTI, whether traveling or not, is to see your virtual OBGYN here at My Virtual Physician.  You can always schedule a proactive appointment if you feel the UTI symptoms coming on.  When it comes to treating a urinary tract infection, it is better to be prepared for the worst rather than to wait and see what happens.

Getting a UTI while traveling to Las Vegas or another dream vacation destination doesn’t have to ruin your trip! A little bit of quick action can get you feeling better so you can fully enjoy your trip. Are you suffering and in need of immediate treatment for a UTI? Click to book your appointment here!

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Due to a number of factors, including the Las Vegas OBGYN shortage, online OBGYN appointments have become increasingly popular and accepted among patients, doctors, and insurance companies. Everyday more practices are opening their virtual doors to allow patient access through an online portal.  

 Healthcare executives are predicting that by 2040, our healthcare system will be completely transformed; a substantial component of our healthcare will be virtual.  With all these new virtual options starting to become available now, how does a patient choose which one is right for her or her family? Although we can’t make that decision for you, we will show you what set My Virtual Physician apart from other telehealth companies.  

My Virtual Physician Offers Premium Service at a Low Cost 

How much is this going to cost me? Cost is a huge factor when it comes to choosing a doctor. Traditional doctor appointments have proven to be very expensive, and more commonly, led to surprise bills that continue to trickle into your home long after you thought you were done paying.   

 With most health insurance, you still pay for 100% of your medical care out of pocket until you meet a deductible amount. Once your deductible is met, you continue to pay a portion of the doctor appointment, but largely, the amount you will be charged remains a mystery until the bill goes through your insurance company and you’re stuck with the remaining balance. 

 With My Virtual Physician, whether you have insurance or not, the cost of your appointment is up-front and will not change. There is no surprise billing.  We make our pricing plans very transparent and affordable.  If you decide to use our telehealth services and schedule a one-time appointment, your cost will be $49. That meets or beats our competitors’ rates which can be as high as $75.00 per visit (Doctor On Demand).  

My Virtual Physician offers Payment Plans for Ongoing or Recurring Treatment Online 

What if you need to see your virtual OBGYN more frequently?  An example would be a condition where your physician would like you to try a treatment option for a specified period and re-visit your symptoms at regular follow-up virtual appointments.  If you’re in this situation, we have options to keep your medical bills from stacking up.   

 My Virtual Physician offers individual subscription plans with two additional membership levels above the pay-per-visit option. The complete care plan grants you unlimited telemedicine visits with not just your OBGYN, but also your primary care physician. This option is truly unique to My Virtual Physician and we are proud to offer this practical service to our patients.  That means you pay a flat subscription rate per month and you could see your online OBGYN (and PCP if available in your state) many times for just $99. 

 If you just love the freedom and certainty you get from having the complete care plan for yourself, we now have the option to expand it to the ones you love.  Our family plan covers your whole family.  The basic family rate includes up to two adults and two children for $149/mo and additional children can be added for $10 per child/mo. With the family plan, your whole family can see the doctor as many times as needed for a flat rate. So whether it’s your OBGYN, your children’s pediatrician, or your husband’s primary doctor; My Virtual Physician has you covered. 

Unlike other Online Physicians, My Virtual Physician is Based on Building a Relationship with You  

 Although going to the doctor is not usually a very happy time for anyone facing a condition, we love to see your smiling face, and a familiar face is comforting when you are in need. Most of the big-name virtual care websites have countless doctors working for them; which means you’ll be seeing a different face every time you visit.  You will also have to rehash your history every time you see a new doctor. 

 Fortunately, we have a different approach to your virtual care.  My Virtual Physician has a small team of board-certified physicians. This means that you will see our same smiles every time you come back.  We enjoy seeing your smile and can easily monitor your condition with our virtual tools without wasting appointment time gathering history repetitively. 

 Times are changing and to take full advantage of your options to see your physician online, it’s important to consider why you would choose one virtual physician company over the rest.   

 At My Virtual Physician we’ve taken a unique approach towards online healthcare by making regular care affordable and transparent for our patients.  

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