Book an appointment

Innovative Express Care Among the First in Chicago to Sync Health Data with Apple Health Records

Lincoln Park clinic known for marrying technology and healthcare to enhance the patient experience puts health data on iPhone for one-touch access to lab results, health history

Chicago – Innovative Express Care is now connected to Apple Health Records, allowing patients access to their personal health data via their iPhone. The primary and urgent care clinic located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, is among the early adopters using the new feature within Apple’s Health application, and is one of only a few clinics in the Chicagoland area on Apple Health Records to date.

Bringing technology and modern conveniences together to improve the health care experience has been a cornerstone of Innovative Express Care’s mission since the clinic opened in 2015. “Our goal is to make access to quality healthcare more convenient,” said Rahul Khare, MD, president and founder of Innovative Express Care. “From online scheduling, to virtual telemedicine appointments that save patients a trip to the clinic for a routine follow up or minor illness, we use technology in our everyday practice to enhance our patient experience. Connecting our electronic health record with the Health Records feature on iPhone was a natural fit for our practice.”

Patients who sign in to Apple Health, which comes installed on all iPhones and was updated with IOS 11.3, can easily retrieve their electronic health record, allowing them to see lab results, immunizations, medications, procedures and more. As more practices join Apple Health Records, patients will have the ability to organize and access health information, across many providers, in one convenient location. Aggregating health data helps patients effectively manage their health and may support better reporting of health history, thereby improving continuity of care.

“Being able to retrieve health data from your iPhone has many conveniences and is especially helpful for patients who come to us for urgent care needs and wish to share test results or a diagnosis with their primary care physician,” said Khare. “It is also great for college students who turn to us for health needs during the school year, but may see another provider in their hometown during the summer months.”

Innovative Express Care offers walk-in urgent care, primary care and telemedicine appointments. For more information on services provided, please visit https://innovativeexpresscare.com.

Ultimate Music Festival Survival Guide

People buy tickets to Chicago’s internationally recognized music festivals months in advance, but many people forget to plan for their health. This is the ultimate musical festival guide! Residents of the “Windy City” are lucky to host music festivals, like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and the Spring Awakening, which offer a variety of music, including alternative, folk, blues, hip hop, electronic, and more. The events attract thousands of people from around the world each year and they give residents and visitors the opportunity to come together and experience great music.

Chicago’s many great music festivals are definitely something to be excited about, but not planning for your heath when you will be in crowded places, dancing and drinking in the sun for days, is not a good idea. Medical professionals must treat hundreds of festival-goers each year, and the effects of music, alcohol, drugs, late nights, unprotected sex, and sun exposure require thousands more people to seek treatment from their primary care physicians once the festivals are done.

Don’t ruin your summer festival season by not taking care of yourself. We made this guide to help you plan for your health before, during, and after any of Chicago’s great music festivals.

Prepare

Check the weather before you head out. Proper preparation can protect you from everything from weather-related discomfort to life-threatening injury. Important items to bring with you include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Clean clothes
  • Ibuprofen
  • Electrolyte drink (1 per day)
  • A personal first aid kit, including bandages in various sizes and shapes, gauze, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, and sting relief
  • Earplugs
  • Any medications you take regularly
  • Water
  • Face wipes
  • Hand sanitizer/baby wipes
  • Condoms
  • Sunglasses

During cold or rainy weather, add:

  • Rain jacket/poncho
  • Blankets
  • Hand warmers
  • Jackets
  • Comfortable closed-toed shoes

In the days leading up to the event, drink plenty of water, and eat a well-balanced diet. This will help your body get plenty of essential nutrients to help you feel great while you party the night away.

Also, be sure to get plenty of rest in the weeks before your epic music festival experience. Heat, long days drinking in the sun, and late nights partying can wear you down. You do not want to burn out in the middle of the festival. Extra rest will energize you and help you make the most out of the experience.

Pack items like condoms even if you don’t think you will need them. You just never know if you will meet someone special, and you don’t want your romantic experience to end in a trip to the doctor. Likewise, you should pack and use sunscreen even if the weather is dreary. People still experience sunburns during overcast weather because the sun reflects off the clouds.

Preparing for your festival and packing essential health items will help you have the most fun possible.

Additionally, should any of this preparation fail to protect you, it is important for you take note of where you can seek medical attention.

Maintain

Drink an electrolyte drink and plenty of water each day during the festival, especially if you are dancing and/or walking around for extended periods of time. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems. Do not mix alcohol and drugs, as doing so can lead to potentially fatal reactions within your body.

Use baby wipes or antibacterial wipes to keep yourself clean during the event. Music festivals are fun, but long days in the sun and limited resources for festival goers can lead to fungal infections like jock itch and athlete’s foot. Being mindful of your hygiene and wearing clean dry socks and underwear is essential to your health.

Wear shoes in which you can walk long distances comfortably. Address small injuries like blisters, sun burns and/or small cuts as soon as possible. This will prevent small injuries from becoming worse and threatening the longevity of your music festival experience.

Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and again every 2 hours. This will help prevent burns and diminish the likelihood of sun poisoning. If necessary, set alarm on your phone so you don’t forget to reapply. If you get a sunburn on the first or second day treat yourself with the following:

  • Take ibuprofen
  • Drink extra water
  • Apply aloe or sunburn care treatment
  • Take a cool shower (not cold)
  • Avoid further exposure to the sun by covering burns and wearing sunscreen

Rainy/wet weather

Rainy weather also carries its own set of challenges. Use ponchos or rain coats to keep your clothes dry. Keep your feet dry and warm with good socks and closed-toe shoes. And even if you can’t see the sun, continue using sunscreen. According to the Center for Disease Control, you can get a sunburn, “even on cloudy days.”

Post-festival care

After the festivities, you will have amazing memories of good times with old and new friends, but you may also be questioning your judgement if you did not plan for your health. Recovering from the marathon of music, dancing, alcohol, potential drug use, walking, and socializing, may take some time. The following tips may help you recover faster.

Make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, and drink lots of water. Dehydration makes recovery more difficult and lowers your body’s immune system, which can cause serious health concerns in the days following a festival.

If you have a sunburn take ibuprofen and use topical sunburn relief with aloe to help the healing process. If the sunburn starts to make you feel sick, consult a doctor as soon as possible, as this may be a sign of sun poisoning.

Some additional post-festival health issues you should look out for include:

  • UTIs
  • STDs
  • Exhaustion
  • Cold / Flu

If your festival experience leaves you needing medical attention, the friendly professional staff at Innovative Express Care in Lincoln Park, can help. With the highest urgent care provider review rating in the Chicagoland area and helpful features like free parking, telemedicine (video conferencing), online booking, and accessible online medical records, we are here for your urgent care needs. Walk-ins are welcome and wait times average less than 15 minutes. We hope you enjoy your event and if you need medical assistance, come experience “healthcare evolved” at Innovative Express Care.

 

Image Source: m.gin

Medical Cannabis 101

Medical Cannabis

Dr. Khare will be one of the major speakers at Chicago Reader’s Medical Cannabis 101 presentation. Tickets are available below!

April 9, 2018 | 6:30-8:30pm (doors open at 5:45pm)
mHub | 965 W. Chicago Avenue (map)
$20 (light appetizers and beverages will be provided)

Want to better understand the science behind medical cannabis? Wondering if you or someone you know could benefit from treatments? Interested in learning how the Illinois legislature approves new conditions for the program? State Senator Don Harmon, industry experts, physicians, patients and a pharmacist will discuss the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program and share anecdotal evidence of its successes and challenges.

Discussion Topics

  • Testimonials: Success and Challenges of Treatments
  • The science behind the treatments
  • Qualifying conditions and legislative options
  • Overview of IL Medical Cannabis Program
  • Highlights of Pending Medical Cannabis Legislation

 

How to Handle a Laceration or Cut

We’ve all been there. You’re cutting up an apple to make a smoothie. As you throw a slice into the blender, you slice your hand up as well. It’s bleeding heavily. Maybe not like that Julia Child skit on Saturday Night Live, but you think you may need stitches. What now? Should you handle it yourself? Should you go to the emergency room? This guide will help.

Call 911:

  • Spurting blood
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Neck, eye, throat, chest, or abdomen wound
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Severe pain
  • Light-headedness

Do not remove an embedded object from the wound!

Visit emergency care:

Here are guidelines from WebMD and UVA Medical School:

If the laceration, or cut, doesn’t stop bleeding after 5 to 10 minutes of pressure, seek treatment. If it’s on your face, genitals, across a joint, on hands, feet or chest, or if there is exposed fat, muscle tendon, or bone, go to emergency care.

Animal bite? You need treatment. Human bite? You need treatment. And possibly garlic. (If bitten by your 3-year-old, you have other problems as well.)

Go to the emergency room if the cut is gaping or jagged or may result in a large amount of scarring. If the object that caused the cut was dirty or rusty, or the cut has something embedded in it, go see a physician. Don’t try to pull the object out. It may cause more bleeding or damage.

Head for treatment if the injury looks infected. Signs of infection include redness spreading from the wound, swelling, green or yellow discharge, or warm and tender skin.

A wound on the bottom of the foot, such as a nail through the shoe, should also receive treatment from a professional.

Before your clinic visit

Keep applying pressure if the bleeding continues and hold the injury above your heart, if possible. Probably don’t try this, however, if you have a nail in your foot.

Do not apply any kind of tourniquet. Do not use peroxide, iodine, or rubbing alcohol. They may damage the tissue.

If the bleeding stops, run warm water over the cut and gently wash with mild soap. Rinse again. Apply antibiotic cream and cover the injury with gauze to prevent infection.

If bleeding resumes and the gauze gets soaked, add more pads until the bleeding ceases. Don’t remove the pads. If a bandage is used, do not remove it. If neither are available, use a clean cloth, plastic bags, or even a clean hand.

Try to remember when you had your last tetanus shot. This is a head-scratcher for many people. But do not take the time to rummage through your old papers for your shot records. You will most likely be asked, but you can estimate.

Move quickly. Don’t take time to let out the cat or bring in the dog. Don’t lower the heat or water the plants. Just go.

What to expect at the clinic

The way the laceration is treated will depend on its size, severity, and location. Repair will most likely be done using one of these methods:

  • Dermabond: This is a type of glue which is made to hold the edges of the wound together. It is used on the face, torso, arms, legs, but not on lips, joints, deep wounds, and hand or foot injuries. Don’t try this at home with Elmer’s or Gorilla Glue! They won’t work.
  • Steristrips: For shallow cuts that are clean and even.
  • Stitches: These are used for deeper cuts that have jagged edges, or exposed fat and muscle tissue.
  • Staples: Used for injuries on the scalp, neck, torso, buttocks, arms, and legs.

Innovative Express Care is the place to go, not only for urgent care for injuries and illness, but also for primary care. IEC has state-of-the-art technology, telemedicine, online appointment arrangements, innovative ideas, and transparency. IEC is the best-rated urgent care facility in the Chicago area.

Image Source: Quinn Dombrowski

Earaches and Ear Pain

There is a dull ache in your right ear and you cannot seem to shake it. Did you catch an ear infection from your toddler? Or did some water from the community pool get stuck in there? Either way, it needs to go. Earaches and ear infections can drive you crazy and turn a bomb into a whisper. What’d you say, Sonny?

Causes of ear pain

So what exactly causes that pain in your ear? Ear pain can be caused by a variety of issues from trauma to an infection. Determining the cause of the ear pain will aid in kicking it to the curb.

Earache due to cold

Earaches often stem from lingering colds. Cold viruses can sometimes cause inflammation in the sinuses and ear canals, causing ear pain. This type of earache typically presents with a mild and more gradual pain, and it usually subsides along with the cold. Taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen will help decrease the inflammation and ease the pain. The best course of action is to wait out the cold and treat the symptoms as they occur.

Earache due to infection

Ear pain due to an infection can often be quite severe. Ear infections are caused most commonly by bacteria infecting the middle ear causing a build up of pus and pressure. Symptoms of an ear infection often include diminished hearing, intense pain, and fever. Ear infections are typically treated with a course of antibiotics.

Ear Injuries

Ear injuries such as a ruptured ear drums can occur from any number of traumas or rough play. Ruptured ear drums and damage to the middle and inner ear can also happen by inserting items such as cotton swabs into the ears incorrectly. These injuries can cause severe pain, bleeding, and dizziness. Ear injuries are common among children and athletes who participate in contact sports. If you incur such an injury, seek immediate medical attention.

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear occurs when there is an increase in moisture in the outer ear. Activities such as swimming, showering, and bathing can contribute to the issue. The increase in moisture provides a breeding ground for bacteria that already inhabit the ear canal naturally. The increase in bacterial growth then causes an ear infection. As with other types of ear infections, a course of antibiotics should clear up a case of swimmer’s ear.

Visiting your physician.

It is important to avoid excess moisture and overcleaning your ears. If an earache persists, you may need to seek the care of a physician. Physicians will be able to test, diagnose and treat your ear pain accordingly.

Having an earache of any sort can be upsetting and uncomfortable, but at Innovative Express Care, we utilize telemedicine and the latest technology to bring you top notch care. Our staff will provide a great experience and have your ears feeling better in no time.

Image Source: Mark Probst

Allergies in Chicago

Although Chicago is a wonderful places to live, no one is immune to allergies. Allergies afflict every man, woman and child, causing itchy watery eyes, sore throats, hives, rashes and even swollen airways that can be potentially deadly.

The toughest amongst us may be inclined to simply wait out the agony; the frugal amongst us may be tempted to skip treatment in order to save the money. But receiving proper treatment for allergies is vital to maintaining good health.

Everything is an allergen

There are many types of allergies, and each has a different set of symptoms, ranging from merely annoying to life threatening. Because there are so many types of allergies and so many symptoms, knowing what to do can be difficult. Therefore, it is important to know the types of allergies and the specific symptoms for each. Below is a list of allergies you may experience:

  • Drug allergies
  • Food allergies
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Material allergies
  • Allergic asthma
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Animal allergies
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Particulate allergies

Operation allergy

Swollen lips might look funny, but allergic reactions are no joke. Most serious allergic reactions will reveal themselves in two or more parts of the body, but the areas of reaction and severity may differ from case to case and person to person. Areas you may see an allergic reaction in include:

Lungs: Symptoms involving the lungs include breathing problems, coughing, wheezing, congestion, sneezing and hoarseness.

Cardiovascular system: Heart problems associated with allergies include low blood pressure, dizziness, rapid heart rate and chest pain.

Skin: Skin-related symptoms include sweating, hives, pale or flush skin, itchy skin and swelling.

Mouth: Allergic reactions in the lips include swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue and throat.

Stomach and digestive track: Symptoms involving the stomach and digestive track include abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

Allergy response 101

Many of these symptoms can be taken care of at home with antihistamines, decongestants and hydrocortisone skin cream. Sometimes, though, the care of a professional is necessary. Anytime someone is having a hard time breathing, they should be immediately transported to an emergency facility. Even if the symptoms begin to subside, the person should still see a professional.

Over the counter options for seasonal allergies like Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec and Benadryl are often suggested as emergency antihistamines. If you have persistent seasonal allergies that cause skin problems, itchy watery eyes, sneezing, coughing or congestion your primary care physician can also help.

If you find yourself needing medical attention for an allergic reaction or any other medical need, Innovative Express Care serves all Chicago residents. We provide comfortable, fast primary and urgent care, and are happy to see you when you need us.

Image Source: vishpool

Understanding Back Pain

Back Pain

You deadlifted 680 pounds and won first place at the powerlifting meet yesterday. Congratulations! To celebrate the win, you enjoy dinner with your family. Then, as if you did not exercise your lifting abilities enough, you let the kids take turns getting piggy back rides in and out of the restaurant. To top it all off, your wife got in on the action and took a piggy back ride for herself. But then, the next morning, you can’t even get out of bed.

What Could Be Wrong With Your Back?

There is no question that your back has taken on a lot. It is achy and stiff. You need relief. It is understandable to be worried as you have always been able-bodied and strong. You need to be sure that your pain is not the result of an injury. Back injuries do frequently happen during sports and exercise.

Injuries that result from sports and exercise tend to impact the spine, soft tissue, and fascia (the tissue that encases your muscles and other organs). About 20 percent of all back injuries occur in the lower back. Sports like running or weightlifting usually cause injuries to the lower back because of the steady repetitive motion and impact. The upper back has a decreased chance for injury because it is not as mobile and has increased muscle and bone support. However, weight training can be a contributor to upper back injuries as well. Common injuries to the upper back are muscle strains and rib fractures.

Test and Diagnosis

Your doctor may run one or more of the following tests to determine the underlying cause of your back pain:

• Range of motion tests

• Blood and urine lab tests to ensure the pain is not caused by an infection

• MRI scans to analyze soft tissue (Doctors generally use imaging to diagnose chronic back pain.)

• EMG scans to check for nerve or muscle damage

Even seemingly minor injuries can lead to debilitating back pain. Don’t let it continue to limit your ability to be your family’s superhero. With speedy patient care, a compassionate expert staff, and a wide range of medical treatments, Innovative Express Care will have you feeling better quickly, efficiently, and affordably. And even if you throw out your back on a Sunday morning, you’re in luck. We are open seven days a week. Our well-trained and professional team of caregivers will have you feeling like a superhero again in no time!

 

Image Source: Eugenio “The Wedding Traveler” WILMAN

What is Urgent Care?

What is Urgent Care?

Urgent care is where you go when you have a non-life threatening illness or injury that you can’t fix at home, and you want fast treatment. You don’t want to sit in that germ-filled emergency room for hours and then get depersonalized care. You might go because your regular doctor is off on a fishing trip or tied up in court.

Urgent care treats people of all ages with all sorts of conditions, both acute and chronic. If the problem is severe, you may be referred to the emergency room or a hospital. But in most cases, urgent care is convenient, efficient, and cheaper than other alternatives.

What Gets Treated

Here is a partial list of conditions appropriate for urgent care:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Pink eye
  • Sore throats
  • Head injury from stepping on a rake
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Colds, upper respiratory infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Diarrhea
  • Burns
  • Injuries from fire ant attacks
  • Asthma
  • Heartburn
  • Diaper rash

And what doesn’t get treated

Here is a partial list of conditions which should send someone to the emergency room in an ambulance (call 911):

  • Heart attack symptoms – chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, pain in left arm, and more
  • Stroke symptoms – Weakness on one side of face and/or body, difficulty speaking. Face droops on on side, dizziness, confusion, and more
  • Severe allergic reaction – trouble breathing, swollen tongue, hives, vomiting, wheezing, and more
  • Severe injuries with profuse bleeding, loss of consciousness, fractures, anything that appears life-threatening

More pluses for going to urgent care

Many people like to receive all of their medical care in one place. They want convenience, quick service, high-tech communications, reasonable prices, extended hours, and as many services as possible all together. People would love to have medications, x-rays, lab services, walk-in treatment, convenient appointments, and state-of-the-art everything at their disposal.

They would also like to bring their children and grandmas and grandpas in for acute and chronic care. An urgent care team has a broad range of knowledge in many fields and will refer you to a specialist if needed.

The best of urgent care can be found in the Chicago area

You don’t need an appointment and the wait time is never more than 30 minutes. And you can schedule a visit online or by fax or phone. If you can’t make it in person or you can’t drag yourself away from the soaps, you can use our telemedicine service. And yes, IEC has a well-stocked pharmacy, a lab, X-ray machines, and state-of-the-art everything.

 

Image Source: Sonny Abesamis 

Innovative Express Care Now Takes Advocate HMO BCBS!

Are you looking for a doctor in your Advocate Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois HMO Network? Innovative Express Care, aka Innovative Platinum Care, is a brand new provider in the network. We are excited to start taking this new insurance. If you have Advocate HMO on your Blue Cross Blue Shield card, then we take your insurance.

Innovative Express Care is not your normal doctor’s office. We pride ourselves in using technology to the fullest. For example, if you need a medication refill, but still need to see the physician, you can book an appointment to see our provider via telemedicine. Yes, you do not even have to leave work to see the doctor. Also, if you want to make an appointment with us, all you have to do is go to our web page, and click “Book Appointment” and find all the available slots open.

We offer many different services. You can even book online:

Primary Care
Urgent Care
Telemedicine
Mental Health Therapy

If you want a fresh start on your health care, please check out our website and make an appointment.

Any of these Advocate Insurances
Blue Cross HMO Illinois
Blue Advantage HMO
Blue Cross Medicare Advantage HNO- POS
Blue Cross Advocate HMO
Blue Precision HMO
Blue Precision HMO
Blue Precision Silver HMO
Blue Cross Advocate Employee PPO
And Many other insurances

Choosing a Primary Care Physician

When picking a primary care physician, you want the highest possible level of care. You rely on your PCP for accurate diagnoses and effective treatments. Additionally, with an increase in technology-based medicine, many patients now demand an added layer transparency from their health care providers.

There are many factors to consider when trying to find the right primary care physician. Too often, patients rely on just one or two factors, such as price or location, when selecting a PCP. While those factors may be important, you should also consider your own health status (perhaps you have a chronic disease), as well as the primary care physician’s track record and areas of expertise.

What to Look for in a Primary Care Physician

With a few exceptions, PCPs generally practice family medicine, internal medicine, or general medicine. While conducting your search, be sure to check if your potential doctor holds any additional licenses or specialties. Patients can find out about a physician’s credentials through the American Medical Association, state licensing boards, and by researching the types of continuing education courses the physician has completed in the past few years.

Some physicians may have more experience in treating certain conditions than others. If you suffer from a chronic disease, you may want to know how a doctor has fared with patients like you in the past. While you can’t get this kind of information from confidential medical records, you can read online patient reviews or set up a preliminary consultation with the physician in question.

Gaining Insight on a Primary Care Physician

In a recent Gallup healthcare survey, more than half of respondents indicated that a physician’s history of medical mistakes and experience in a specific area of medicine, influenced their decision more than anything else. In the past, patients tended to focus more on the location, age, sex, and demeanor of a physician. Now, consumers are more concerned about level of care, transparency, and a physician’s philosophy on integrating complementary therapies to more effectively treat a condition.

Additionally, more and more patients demand less testing (unless absolutely necessary), accurate diagnoses, and treatment methods that not only heal but also keep medical costs as low as possible. The specialists at Innovative Express Care take pride in using the most innovative technology to provide effective, transparent, and affordable care to their patients.

If you’re in the market for a primary care physician, schedule an appointment today!