You went to bed at your usual time, but now you can’t sleep because you have a sore throat and it hurts when you swallow. This wasn’t a problem when you were eating dinner, so something must have started since then. You take your temperature to see if you have a fever, and you do.
“What should I do now?” you ask yourself. “The only place where I can see a doctor at this time of night is a hospital.”
If you live in North Carolina, another option is available. UNC Urgent Care 24/7 provides access to physicians via phone, tablet or computer.
What Is Virtual Urgent Care?
UNC Urgent Care 24/7 offers simple, convenient and around-the-clock care for nonemergency medical issues.
“UNC Urgent Care 24/7 can be accessed from your home, office or any location,” says Robert L. Gianforcaro, DO, UNC Health Care’s executive medical director of population health and virtual care. “This makes access to care more convenient and eliminates the need for travel or time off from work for a doctor’s appointment.”
A virtual care visit is a good fit for you if you have a condition that doesn’t require an in-person physical exam. For example, allergies, coughs, fevers, headaches, nausea, insect bites, pinkeye, sore throats, rashes and vomiting are conditions that a physician can typically help with over the phone or via a video call. The service costs $49 or less per visit, depending on insurance.
UNC Urgent Care 24/7 can also help with behavioral health issues, such as anxiety and depression, and dermatology needs, including eczema, warts and psoriasis.
Virtual care is not appropriate for medical emergencies such as chest pain (which could indicate a heart attack), bleeding wounds or suicidal thoughts. Children younger than 3 with a fever must be seen in person as well.
How to Use UNC Urgent Care 24/7
There are several ways to access care through UNC Urgent Care 24/7, which is offered through MDLIVE, a provider of virtual medicine services and software.
A virtual care doctor will visit with you through a private and secure connection. Then, the physician can diagnose problems, recommend treatment and write prescriptions. Again, people experiencing true emergencies, including chest pain, should still go to a hospital emergency department.
If someone uses UNC Urgent Care 24/7 and needs in-person follow-up care, the patient will be referred back to his or her primary care provider or will receive assistance in finding one, if needed, Dr. Gianforcaro says.
About Dr. Gianforcaro
Robert L. Gianforcaro, DO, FAAFP, is UNC Health’s executive medical director of population health and virtual care. Previously, he was the founding executive medical director and then the president and CEO of the UNC Physicians Network.