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One of the newest trends in medicine is improving the consumer-centric view of providing patient care. Urgent Care centers have exploded in the last couple of years to fill the need of creating a professional and convenient health care option that operates between the primary care doctors, the specialists, and the "expensive" hospital emergency room.In this Swain Sinus Show episode, we are lucky to have Greater Mobile Urgent Care's co-founder and physician, Dr. Darren Waters. ENT Physician and Sinus Specialist Dr. Ron Swain and Dr. Waters share a candid conversation about how their practices work in unison and to improve your sinus and allergy health and patient care.
Dr. Darren Waters' background, working model and working relationship with his business partner and big sister, Dr. Shannon Waters
Discover what services and tests are available at Greater Mobile Urgent Care
Learn the about the symptoms, signs and time for an urgent care physician to refer a patient to a trusted sinus and allergy specialist, like Dr. Swain
The importance of a hands-on physical examinations compared to a phone call consultation or web-based, computer-based diagnosis
Providing sound health and patient care on weekends and evenings when your primary care physician may not be available
This episode is part 1 of a two-part series with Dr. Darren Waters on the Swain Sinus Show. Thanks so much for your time, knowledge and humor Dr. Waters! Check out his fantastic urgent care clinics in Mobile and the surrounding areas at greatermobileurgentcare.com.
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Ep.11 Full Show Transcript
Announcer: Welcome to the "Swain Sinus Show," a physician and patient discussion on how to better manage and treat mild to serious sinus issues and conditions for the diagnosis, treatment, home remedies, and surgery. Stacy and Dr. Swain will talk about improving your quality of life, breathing easier, and feeling better. Let's take control over our sinuses and allergies, so they don't control us.
Stacy: Good evening, Dr. Swain.
Dr. Swain: Hello, Stacy, how are you?
Stacy: I'm great, how are you doing?
Dr. Swain: Good.
Stacy: We have a special guest today.
Dr. Swain: We do, I'm glad he's here.
Stacy: I know, tell us who your friend is.
Dr. Swain: Dr. Darren Waters from Greater Mobile Urgent Care.
Stacy: Welcome, Dr. Waters.
Dr. Waters: I appreciate, thank you for having me.
Stacy: We're glad to have you. Your first podcast?
Dr. Waters: It is, I'm a little bit new at this.
Stacy: It's a lot of fun. We're real laid back and casual around here. So I tend to be the one that asks the stupid questions, and Dr. Swain obliges me. So I'm glad to have you that I could ask some questions about urgent care.
Dr. Waters: Glad to help.
Stacy: So tell us some of your background, obviously you're a doctor. What is your training like and how did you get to where you are today?
Dr. Waters: I am an ER-trained physician, trained at the medical school, University of South Alabama and went to the University of Kentucky to do my emergency medicine training. Worked in the ER for about seven years and decided that some of those night shifts and swing shifts were a little hard on family life, enjoying your kids' activities and sports. And got out of it and started doing urgent care and fell in love with it. Started out with one and now we have five.
Stacy: Tell me where they all are located now.
Dr. Waters: We have one out in West Mobile, on Schillinger Road, we have one in Semmes, at Schillinger Moffat. We have one in Saraland, one in Springhill, and one in Citronelle.
Stacy: I have to tell you I've been to the Springhill location a few times.
Dr. Waters: Well, thank you.
Dr. Swain: I have too, I have too.
Stacy: I love this trend. I mean I guess it's a worldwide trend, this urgent care?
Dr. Waters: It is. I mean, and really, to be honest with you, Mobile was kinda late to the market. This happened...in larger cities, urgent care's been around for a while, but it's just started picking up in mobile, and over the past, probably, seven, eight years, it's become a lot more popular. There's a niche that needed to be filled. You know, you don't need to be in the emergency department for, you know, 80% to 90% of your problems that you're having, and you don't always have time to see your primary care physician or you don't have time to go from 8:00 to 5:00 or 9:00 to 5:00 during the day. So we kinda fill a niche there in between the primary care guys, the specialists, and the emergency department.
Dr. Swain: One thing I would mention is that Dr. Waters's sister is also one of his partners and is a good friend of mine, too. We went to medical school together.
Stacy: So you grew up together, both went to med school, and now work together?
Dr. Waters: You know, we actually went to different medical schools, and we kinda met back in residency at the University of Kentucky. And, ironically, I was gonna go to Charlotte, and I said, "You know, this may be one chance to work with my sister. I'll never get to work with her again in my whole entire career." So I came as an intern, and she was my chief resident.
Dr. Waters: And we fought quite a bit, it was fun.
Stacy: Oh, so she's your bigger sister?
Dr. Waters: She's bigger. You kinda realize that you can't go, "Hey, I'm gonna tell dad," when you don't treat the cardiac arrest like she would, or the trauma. And it was fun. We had quite a few arguments and quite a few jokes that happened, but we've enjoyed it.
Stacy: Tell me about when a patient comes to see you, what is your goal in that urgent care visit?
Dr. Waters: There's several, and the first goal overall is good quality medical care. We wanna make sure that we treat the patient with the highest respect and do the best that we could possibly do for them, and try to treat their illness or injury. And we take a lot of pride in that, and all of our physicians do. You know, the second thing is convenience. We try to be open when other people are closed and, you know, we're open on weekends, we're open on after-hours, we're open on most holidays. You know, that's one thing I'm trying to do now is the November Thanksgiving schedule. And it's not always fun, but somebody's gotta be there for these people, and I think that's what we fill, the niche we fill.
Stacy: Well, I appreciate it. The last time I visited your clinic, I had gone for a run and tripped and fell and broke my finger, and it was 7:00 a.m. in the morning, I didn't wanna go to the emergency room. Well, I ended up at Greater Mobile Urgent Care in Springhill, and they did a quick x-ray, assessed the situation, said, "Yes, it's broken. You need to go to the orthopedic." And they called and made an appointment for me, and I went right on over there and got taken care of. So had I gone to an emergency room, I would have been in the emergency room for six, eight hours before a diagnosis like that.
Dr. Waters: And you would. And what people don't realize is you've been there for six to eight hours, your cost would have been three to five times higher. You would have paid for the ER visit, the hospital bills, the radiologist to read your x-ray, and we try to combine that all into one bill, I guess you would say.
Not to change the subject, but, you know, you falling at 7:00, you know, now we're open at 6:00. So we're trying to expand our hours. At West Mobile, we're open at 6:00 and we stay open until 11:00. So we're just trying to meet the patients' needs and trying to open later and later now.
Stacy: As a patient, in general, we appreciate that, and, again, that trend. Well, let's talk about how you guys work together. So when does a patient go to urgent care, when do they come to a specialist? Give me some examples of...maybe, Dr. Swain, start with when would you send somebody to an urgent care?
Dr. Swain: I have sent several of my patients to urgent care over the years. Usually, it's a time when I'm in on call, typically on the weekends. And I think someone's called and they've said they're sick and they sound like they're sick. But there's a lot of liability these days, and just calling in medication without actually laying eyes on someone...and in terms of documentation, as well. In the old days, a lot of times, antibiotics just got called in. But I think it's better medical care to have somebody actually lay eyes on you and look at you and try to give an assessment of what's going on. So I have sent a lot of my patients over there.
And I think the other thing is, is if you have someone who calls you, who had surgery or there's a problem, and there's a potential problem, and they don't wanna go to the emergency room, and you're trying to get some logistical way of getting them evaluated. Our office is typically closed on the weekends because usually we're running around to different hospitals. I've called urgent care before and said, "Hey, I've got somebody coming in. Would you mind looking at them and calling me and we can try to figure out whether this person needs to be admitted to the hospital or is everything okay."
I love to see patients, I love to see acute problems, I love to see chronic problems. But the role that the urgent care centers play is really important, especially in this day and age. I'm not really a big fan of, you know, being evaluated on a video monitor.
Stacy: Right, there's this...it seems to be a newish trend of web-based, computer-based diagnosis.
Dr. Swain: Right, and I've looked at those type of encounters. But usually, it's someone who's just asking someone a question or describing a series of problems. There's really no physical exam involved, and the history is important. I mean when you're in medical school, the first thing they tell you, "The most important thing when you're talking to someone is getting the history." But if you ask one of your professors, "Hey, you're gonna have to tell me what's going on just on the basis of a history and you get no physical exam," I don't think they'd be real happy about that. At least that's the way we were trained. So I think the urgent care centers play a really important role, especially when people are needing...you know, the time is important and needing efficiency.
Stacy: It feels like to me, it's just, like you said, Dr. Waters, it's filling a need and it's a more complete service level for patients. So, yes, there's hospitals, there's ERs, there's doctors' offices when you can, but urgent care, like you said, has sort of filled this need, and we live in a 24/7 society these days. And the online stuff is doing that as well, but as a patient, I don't quite trust that. I still wanna have eye-to-eye, like I want you to touch me, I want you to take my temperature, I want you to look in my eyes, I want you to look in my nose or my throat and tell me what's happening. Like you have those fancy cameras that can go down your nose, and we talked about that in another episode. I'm really anxious about the cameras in the nose, but...
Dr. Swain: I want one of those.
Stacy: You all have all these fun tools. Dr. Waters, what are the five main things that you see and address in your clinics?
Dr. Waters: Most of what we see is sinus and allergy, or upper respiratory tract infections, or flu-related. You know, your UTIs, your pediatric illness, your trauma with reference to orthopedics and lacerations, and then your medical problems, you know, your chest pains, your dizziness. You know we see...really it's hard to say because we see everything. We'll see anything that walks through the door.
Stacy: And then when it comes to testing, tell me the top testing things that you can provide.
Dr. Waters: Probably the top testing would be, especially as this time of year starts coming up, about is flu testing, strep testing, mono. We do a lot of urine analysis to check for urinary tract infections and x-rays. We do a lot of x-rays to check for broken bones, pneumonias, things like that. And then EKGs. Somebody comes in with chest pains, shortness of breath, things like that, we can do that as well.
Stacy: Well, we really appreciate you being here today as our special guest.
Dr. Waters: Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate it as well.
Dr. Swain: I'm glad he was here. I think he really shed a lot of light on outpatient medical care.
Stacy: Before we wrap up, tell us again where your five locations of Greater Mobile Urgent Care are.
Dr. Waters: We have one in West Mobile, Springhill, Saraland, Semmes, and Citronelle.
Stacy: And how can we best get in touch with you?
Dr. Waters: You can go to our website at gmucare.com, or just show up at one of our clinics. We're walk-in clinics, no appointment necessary. We'll see you, basically, at our West Mobile location from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Stacy: And the other locations?
Dr. Waters: Other locations during the week is 8:00 in the morning until 7:30 at night, and during the weekends it's 8:00 to 4:00.
Stacy: Thank you, Dr. Waters. And if they need to come see you, Dr. Swain, how do they get in touch with you?
Dr. Swain: So you can call us. The number is 251-470-8823. Again, that is 251-470-8823, or you can find us on the web at drronswain.com.
Stacy: Great, thanks, Dr. Swain.
Dr. Swain: Thank you.