MedStar Health believes in providing accessible resources to help you make the best decisions possible in your healthcare journey. Our care guide below offers easy-to-understand resources within MedStar, which will help you determine which type of care you need based on your conditions and symptoms.
We also provide various options for our patients to interact with us in-person and online. One way we engage with our patients and communities through social media is through our Superfan programs at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. The Superfan program allows our patients and others to easily share exclusive MedStar’s social media content with their family and friends while earning points that can be cashed in for prizes. Being a Superfan ensures your loved ones receive useful healthcare content from MedStar on social media.
Guide To Care
Learn More About Your Care Options at MedStar Health.
Not sure what kind of care is best for you? This guide outlines when you should visit a Primary Care physician, conduct an eVisit, or visit an Urgent Care or Emergency Room.
Your primary care team manages routine medical care and acute injuries or illnesses that are not immediately life threatening.
- Injury and illness: Cold or flu symptoms, back or knee pain, urinary tract infection or yeast infection, STDs, mild to moderate asthma, migraine headache, concussion
- Adult care: High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, depression or anxiety, birth control, weight loss, smoking cessation, cancer screening
- Pediatric care: Routine well visits, asthma management, behavior concerns, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) management
- On-site testing (availability varies by location): Urinary tract infection, pregnancy, rapid strep, flu
- Lab testing: Blood, tissue and other fluids; referral to a radiology facility for X-ray, ultrasound or other radiology testing
MedStar eVisit may be used for minor health issues not requiring a physical exam or testing.
- Cold or mild flu symptoms, allergies, pink eye, rash, minor cut, known urinary tract infection or yeast infection, gout flare-up
MedStar eVisit is not appropriate for:
- Conditions requiring a physician to
look into your ear, listen to your heart or lungs with a stethoscope, or use other exam techniques
- Conditions requiring in-person testing, such as a blood or urine test
- Prescription refills for controlled substances (e.g. narcotics for pain, and ADHD or short-acting anxiety medications)
- Severe flu symptoms, or any flu symptoms for those under 2 or over 65
Visit any MedStar PromptCare location for same-day care or when your primary care doctor is not available. No appointment needed. MedStar PromptCare is appropriate when an in-person physical exam, testing or treatment is needed.
- Minor conditions: Twisted ankle, cuts requiring stitches, sore throat requiring strep testing, flu, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, mild to moderate asthma, stomach virus, migraine headache, concussion
- On-site testing: X-ray, urinary tract infection, pregnancy, rapid strep, mononucleosis, flu
NOTE: MedStar PromptCare locations do not refill prescriptions for controlled substances (e.g. narcotics for pain, and ADHD or short-acting anxiety medications).
Visit the Emergency department when experiencing a major or life-threatening issue requiring immediate treatment.
- Chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe abdominal pain, major head injury, heavy bleeding, severe dizziness or passing out, stroke symptoms, seizures
- Do not drive if experiencing a major or life-threatening issue
- You may accept a ride from someone else if your life is not in danger and your condition does not require immediate intervention
- Call 9-1-1 if your life is in danger or your condition is one in which every minute counts
Visits to the ED for minor conditions treatable by MedStar eVisit, MedStar PromptCare or a MedStar Health primary care physician may result in a longer wait.