What Our Patients Are Saying:
“I am so lucky to have Immediate Care close to home. You guys are always there when I need you.” – Austin, 9/25/14
“The doctor was friendly and very clear with his instructions.” – Austin, 9/19/14
“All of your people are so nice. Keep up the good work.” – Austin, 9/6/14
Immediate Care is committed to a proactive approach to health and wellness. We are pleased to present information and tools for a healthy lifestyle, including a monthly e-newsletter and links to regional and national health organizations.
Hope for Customer Service in Health Care?
(CBS News article)
Earlier this year I wrote a column about the sorry state of customer service in medical care. But recently I had the pleasure (how often can you use that word in the context of health care?) of being treated, literally, to a striking exception.
Last week I was getting ready for a business trip to Asia and got a sore throat the day before leaving. Preferring not to go without antibiotics if I needed them -- or worse, wind up needing medical care in China or Vietnam -- I stopped, without an appointment, into a nearby Immediate Care facility (division of TeamHealth holdings, NYSE: TMH). The company is one of a growing number of chains providing an alternative to emergency room visits and a range of other common outpatient services, from sniffles to stitches, fever to fractures, and more. But unlike any typical ER, it provides these services with as much of a focus on the patient/customer experience as on quality medical care.
Immediate Care promises minimal wait times, immaculate facilities and pleasant, compassionate people, and during my visit they delivered flawlessly. The building looked more like a day spa than a doctor's office. I was checked in quickly and efficiently and seen within 20 minutes, and every person I dealt with -- from the front desk to the clinicians -- was smiling and unfailingly courteous, attentive and caring.
I was so impressed by the experience that I contacted the corporate office to learn more. In keeping with the company's name and ethic, I got an immediate response. Salvatore Durante, the company's Urgent Care Operations manager, gave me a five-point summary of what makes the business tick. Interestingly -- but not surprisingly -- it's all about humans as beings, not bodies:
Austin Immediate Care Issues Warning on Rabies
August 17, 2011
Austin Immediate Care physicians warn about increase in rabid animals and corresponding rabid animal bites in humans
Highly effective treatment available, must be administered soon after a suspicious animal bite
Physicians on the front lines of urgent care in Texas are seeing an increase in the number of animal bites where treatment for suspected exposure to rabies is indicated. Left untreated in humans and after an incubation period of anywhere from five days to a year, the rabies virus enters the nervous system and the brain and is fatal.
“The good news is that treatment for rabies is highly effective when it’s administered early,” says Brian Bobb, M.D., medical director of Austin Immediate Care. “Regardless of which animal does the biting, the treatment - in the form of a series of injections - is easy to administer and is largely free of pain and side effects.”
Prompt medical attention for the care of an animal bite or scratch and for possible rabies treatment is always called for. “This means within 12 hours of a bite or exposure,” says Dr. Bobb. “The sooner we see a patient, the better.”
Dr. Bobb points to the newer mode of rabies treatment as the major reason why there are few if any deaths from rabies. This is in contrast to the older form of treatment, a series of daily injections to the abdomen that cause severe pain and serious side effects. “Those days are gone,” he says. “These days, parents and others should not fear or avoid treatment for a suspected rabies exposure – it’s just like getting a series of flu shots.”
While a bite from any wild animal - raccoon, skunk, fox, and coyote – is considered to be dangerous and rabies treatment is always indicated, other situations require a physician’s judgment as to which treatments are called for.
First aid for an animal bite or scratch includes washing the wound with soap and water and the application of iodine or other antiseptic to the site, “and then getting the patient to a medical facility or physician,” says Dr. Bobb.
Why Rabies is on the Rise
Authorities at the Department of State Health Services point to the severe Texas drought as one reason why the number of rabid animals in Texas is on the rise – doubling in some areas vs. 2010 - especially among skunks and bats, but also raccoons and foxes. As they struggle in their search for food and water and wander beyond their usual environs in the wild, rabid wild animals are in increased contact with other animals and with humans.
They get into scrapes, they bite, and thus the chain of infection forms: from rabid skunks, bats, and other wild animals to dogs and cats to humans.
According to DSHS, in the first six months of 2011, 268 cases of animal rabies were reported in Central Texas, compared to 109 cases reported during the same period last year. Statewide, 591 animal rabies cases were reported during the first six months of 2011 vs. 387 cases for the first six months of 2010.
Recognizing a Rabid Animal and Preventing a Bite
Rabies is a disease of the animal nervous system and is zoonotic – common to and transmitted among animals, not humans. But humans are susceptible via animal bites and scratches and/or exposure to a rabid animal’s saliva.
Experts point to an animal’s odd or strange behavior as a quick way to recognize a potential threat.
• Animals familiar to us that have a change in behavior: A friendly dog might want to be alone. A shy dog might want attention.
• Wild animals that seem to be friendly or tame and that appear during the daytime.
• Animals that have difficulty walking, eating, or drinking. Rabid animals tend to drool.
• Excitement or meanness in animals.
• Rabid dogs often roam, make strange noises and attack people and other animals.
“Children are especially vulnerable because they may not recognize a potentially dangerous change in the behavior of an animal, even the family dog or cat, which might be infected. They should stay away from the animal in question,” adds Dr. Bobb. “This is why adults need to be aware and alert about the animals their children encounter. “
Upon learning about an animal bite to a child, parents may want to ask the child about the circumstances of the bite, a description of the animal and how it was behaving, and other details, which will be helpful to the treating physician and to animal control officers. Locating and quarantining the animal is also of utmost importance if a bite or scratch occurs, but capturing the animal should be left to animal control so that further exposure or injury is not incurred.
Pets such as mice, hamsters, and gerbils are rarely infected and are considered safe.
Dr. Jordan Laroe's Podcast of "The Dr. Dan Show"
May 31, 2011
Listen to Austin Immediate Care's Dr. Jordan Laroe talk about urgent care and traumatic injusry on The Dr. Dan Show. http://siteadmin.talkradio1370am.com/sites/default/files/audio/DRDAN052111.mp3
Check out "The Dr. Dan Show" on Saturday, May 21, at 9 a.m. on 96.3 FM. This week’s guest will be Dr. Jordan Laroe from Austin Immediate Care who will be talking about traumatic injury. For those of you outside of the Austin area, find the show online at “TuneIn.” Call or e-mail with your question to the doctors at 390-1370 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin, TX - January 12, 2011 – According to the Texas State Department of Health, as of January 1, 2011, the flu in Texas has increased to a ‘regional’ classification. At this level, outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like illness have been confirmed in at least two but less than half the regions of the state.
The Center for Disease Control recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. The flu vaccine is a safe and effective preventive health measure with the potential to benefit all age groups. Although most healthy people recover from the flu without complications, some people, adults over the age of 65 , children under the age of 2, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious complications from the flu. “These people should make getting a flu vaccine a priority in their lives,” says Jordan Laroe, MD, medical director of Austin Immediate Care.
Dr. Laroe notes that this year’s vaccine protects against three different viruses: the H3N2 virus, the influenza B virus, and last year’s swine flu H1N1 virus. “Even if you received a vaccine in 2009 for both flu and swine flu, this year’s three-part vaccine – administered in a single dose – gives you the best possible protection,” she adds. “Influenza viruses change each year, so the vaccines change as well.”
Influenza usually starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms: Fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body-aches, diarrhea and vomiting.
Typically, the flu spreads from person to person in respiratory droplets when people who are infected cough or sneeze. On occasion, people may become infected by touching something with influenza virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. Dr. Laroe stresses that hand washing, coughing or sneezing into the crease of your arm and other common sense preventative measures help
“Austin Immediate Care has a limited supply of the vaccine on hand and our physicians and nurses are ready to administer it” says Dr. Laroe. “Even in January, it’s not too late to get your vaccination and give yourself the best possible chance at prevention.” Plus, most insurance plans cover the cost of a flu shot in full.
Physicians at Austin Immediate Care are also warning area residents about the high levels of cedar pollen after Austin saw the highest pollen counts in the nation last week. Commonly referred to as Cedar Fever, those affected will feel like they have the flu—runny nose, headache, sore throat, red watery eyes and sneezing. On average, the area sees readings around 50gr/m3— last week levels peaked at around 4000gr/m3. Forecasters are predicting more high readings this week. For relief, Immediate Care physicians recommend your usual allergy symptom relievers such as antihistamines and nasal spray.
Austin Immediate Care is open 7 days a week and no appointment is necessary. Visit www.austinimmediatecare.com for more information.
Austin, TX – January 11, 2011 – In response to the recent rise of syphilis cases in the Austin, Texas area, physicians at Austin Immediate Care are expressing concern for the residents of the community.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact. The disease starts as a painless sore — typically on your genitals, rectum or mouth. Syphilis spreads from person to person via skin or mucous membrane contact with these sores. After the initial infection, the syphilis bacteria can lie dormant in your body for decades before becoming active again. Early syphilis can be cured, sometimes with a single injection of penicillin. Without treatment, syphilis can severely damage your heart, brain or other organs, and can be life-threatening.
Syphilis continues to be a problem in the southern United States. The Center for Disease Control ranks Texas 10th among the 50 states, with 5.9 cases of primary and secondary stage syphilis per 100,000 persons. Additionally, the number of congenital syphilis cases increased from 68 in 1999 to 127 in 2008 and continues to rise.
Jordan Laroe, MD, of Austin Immediate Care is concerned by the rising number of cases of syphilis in the area. “Syphilis is becoming a serious problem in Austin— it can be easily cured in its early stages but it’s important we start talking about it now.”
Syphilis develops in stages, and symptoms vary with each stage. The stages may overlap, and symptoms don't always occur in the same order so a person may be infected with syphilis and not notice any symptoms for years. Typically, people with primary syphilis will develop one or more sores. The sores resemble large round bug bites and are often hard and painless. They occur on the genitals or in or around the mouth but can heal without treatment within six weeks. The secondary stage may last one to three months and begins within six weeks to six months after exposure. People with secondary syphilis experience a rosy or copper colored rash typically on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. In addition to rashes, symptoms of secondary syphilis may include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue. Like primary syphilis, the symptoms of secondary syphilis will resolve without treatment. However, if untreated, latent stages of syphilis can occur and the infected person will continue to have syphilis even though there are no signs or symptoms—the infection remains in the body. This latent stage can last for years and reappear 10–20 years after infection was first acquired. If the infected individual remains untreated, severe problems with the heart, brain, and nerves that can result in paralysis, blindness, dementia, deafness, impotence, and even death can occur.
If you suspect that you may be infected, Dr. Laroe urges you to visit Austin Immediate Care. “Syphilis can be easily diagnosed with a blood test” says Dr. Laroe.
At a time when Syphilis cases are increasing in the Austin area, Dr. Laroe would like to stress the importance of prevention. Her recommendations are as follows:
- Abstain or be monogamous: The only certain way to avoid syphilis is to forgo having sex. The next-best option is to have mutually monogamous sex with one partner who is uninfected.
- Use a latex condom: Condoms can reduce your risk of contracting syphilis, but only if the condom covers the syphilis sores.
- Avoid recreational drugs: Excessive use of alcohol or other drugs can cloud your judgment and lead to unsafe sexual practices.
Source: Center for Disease Control; Texas Department of State Health Services
Austin Immediate Care to Hold Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic
September 17, 2010
Austin Immediate Care Physicians Talk About National Preparedness Month
September 17, 2010
For media inquiries concerning Austin Immediate Care or our national organization, Exigence, please contact Claire Jones at 716.480.2595 (direct) or Jonathan Gill at 716.817.1934 (direct). We also have media-friendly experts who are willing to comment on urgent care medicine and facilities, emergency medicine, hospitalist programs and a host of other healthcare-related issues.
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- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: The AHRQ has compiled healthcare "report cards" that provide comparative information on the quality of health plans, hospitals, medical groups, individual physicians, nursing homes and other providers of care.
- American Board of Medical Specialties: The A.B.M.S. has a doctor-finder function that reports a physician's board certification.
- American Cancer Society
- American Lung Association
- Complete Video Guide to Lung Disease: A collection of educational video resources offering information about the consequences, prevention techniques and treatment methods of lung disease.
- Health Day News
- Mayo Clinic
- Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
- Men's Health Magazine
- The United States Department of Health and Human Services, Hospital Compare: This site provides information from participating hospitals on how well those hospitals care for patients with certain medical conditions or surgical procedures. Also included are the results from patient surveys on quality of care during hospital stays.
- Web MD