The Biggest Challenges Facing Urgent Cares Today – Plus How ZOOM+Super is Addressing Them.

A photo of a hallway at the ZOOM+Super clinic, which is ZOOM+Care's affordable ER alternative.

Urgent care clinics and emergency rooms face a unique set of challenges. From overcrowding to unclear guidelines about scope of care, the issues facing urgent care and emergency clinics almost always end up impacting patients.

ZOOM+Super, ZOOM+Care’s ER alternative*, tackles many of these challenges head-on, bridging the gap between urgent care and the emergency room. Staffed with board-certified ER doctors, ZOOM+Super can treat the majority of reasons adults and kids go to the emergency room.

Here are some of the biggest issues facing urgent care clinics and emergency departments across the country—and how ZOOM+Super helps solve them.

Alarms, but no surprises.

Sadly, sticker shock has become part of the American healthcare experience. Unforeseen medical bills take people who consider themselves savvy healthcare consumers by surprise (and out-of-pocket urgent care and emergency bills aren’t cheap). Let’s be honest: most of us aren’t thinking about whether we’ve met our annual deductible during a life-threatening emergency. We’re more concerned about getting the care we need in the moment.

Surprise bills are a big problem in emergency departments. An estimated one in five inpatient visits and one in seven outpatient visits lead to surprise medical bills. This problem stems partly from the fact that we can’t always choose an in-network provider in the middle of an emergency. We get the providers who are on call when we need care.

ZOOM+Care offers urgent care through our illness/injury visits at any of our nearly 60 clinics across Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Idaho. But if you need more extensive care (including advanced imaging such as ultrasounds or CT scans), ZOOM+Super is here to help. ZOOM+Super providers can treat 80% of the reasons adults and kids go to the emergency room, including bone fractures, abdominal pain, severe headaches, and more. But here’s the best part: compared to the ER, ZOOM+Super has lower costs, shorter wait times, and absolutely no facility fees.

Transparency is what ZOOM+Care is about, and we work to help patients understand their benefits and the costs associated with care before we treat them. If you’re insured, we recommend reaching out to your insurance company to understand your benefits before scheduling a visit. For patients without insurance, our uninsured pricing is just about as clear as it gets.

Urgency ≠ emergency.

Deciding whether a trip to the urgent care clinic or the emergency room is necessary can be tricky. What if you’re not sure how severe the problem is? When a patient’s condition is outside of an urgent care clinic’s scope of care, the clinic refers them to a hospital emergency department. The last thing anyone wants in an emergency is to bounce from one crowded lobby to another.

ZOOM+Super helps avoid this because we have a wider scope of care than a regular urgent care clinic. We serve patients with serious, non-life-threatening conditions. We offer more treatment options than a typical urgent care clinic, which means we don’t need to send as many patients to the emergency room. Just look at the numbers—less than 1% of ZOOM+Super patients wind up in a hospital emergency room. So if you’re not sure whether to go to urgent care or the emergency room, ZOOM+Super might be a good option.

No time to play the waiting game.

Nationally, most urgent care wait times are under 30 minutes. But in the age of COVID-19, this can be a major issue. Crowded waiting rooms are risky for both patients and healthcare workers. It only takes 15 minutes of high-risk exposure to COVID-19 for doctors to recommend two weeks of quarantine. This situation becomes even worse if the clinic refers a patient to the emergency room. The average wait time in emergency departments in Oregon and Washington is over two hours. And to say they’re crowded is an understatement. Nearly half of emergency departments function at or above capacity. All of these factors reduce the quality of care for patients seeking urgent or emergency care.

Why are emergency departments across the country so crowded? Because 70% of their visits aren’t even necessary. Urgent care and primary care clinics could treat most issues seen in hospital emergency rooms.

ZOOM+Super cuts down on time spent in the clinic with our efficient scheduling and wide scope of care. We usually get you in and out the door in under an hour, all without sitting around in a crowded waiting room. With on-demand,  same-day scheduling through our mobile app and website, you can quickly and easily schedule your waitless visit.

*ZOOM+Super is not a hospital emergency room. If you’re experiencing an immediate, life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1 or seek care at the closest hospital.

From broken bones to kidney stones, ZOOM+Super is here to fill the gap between the emergency room and urgent care. Schedule a visit today!

Too Spooked by Trick-Or-Treating? Try These COVID-Safe Halloween Activities Instead.

Tips for a COVID-Safe Halloween

Like all holidays, Halloween is a bit more complicated during a global pandemic. Close-quarters activities like trick-or-treating are now much more trick than treat. Medical experts agree—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have categorized traditional trick-or-treating as a high-risk activity for COVID-19 and Influenza infection. Unfortunately, the version of this Halloween tradition most of us know and love simply isn’t safe this year.

While Halloween may not feel the same, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring for you and your kids. There are plenty of ways to have a frightful and delightful holiday while keeping your friends, family, and neighbors safe. Keep reading for some fun, COVID-safe Halloween activities:

Find the Halloween spirit (with a scavenger hunt).

Let’s be honest: Part of the fun of trick-or-treating is the “treat” part. But the pandemic doesn’t mean your kids have to give up their sugar high (as tempting as that may sound). There are still fun ways for your little one to satisfy their sweet tooth.

Try approaching trick-or-treating this year much like you’d organize an Easter egg hunt. Hide Halloween candy around the house and yard, along with clues leading to the next ones. Get creative with your prizes and clues, and this activity will also be fun for parents. Better yet, coordinate with other parents in your neighborhood to create a socially distanced hunt that multiple kids can safely participate in.

Scare packages.

Another way to keep the treats flowing is by putting together “scare packages.” Stock up on some Halloween goodies and put together small gift bags that you can drop off with friends and family. You can still see friends from a safe distance when you drop off the scare packages—and show off your creative costumes. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing any treats you plan on sharing with others.

Give it a gourd.

Pumpkin carving is both a classic and COVID-safe Halloween activity. It’s an excellent activity for kids and can also work as a socially distanced backyard activity with friends and family if the weather is nice enough. Try organizing a pumpkin carving contest with your neighbors or family members. If you’re separated geographically, you can even carve pumpkins over a video call and virtually share your artistic prowess.

Virtual Costume Party

One silver lining of doing so much socializing over the internet is that geography doesn’t have to separate us. Try connecting with friends who you normally couldn’t trick-or-treat with and hold a virtual costume party. You can even coordinate with other families in advance to plan special prizes, treats, activities, and games for the kids.

Horror decor.

We all have that neighbor who really leans into decorating their home during the Halloween season. While you don’t have to go that overboard, decking out your place with cobwebs, fake headstones, or other decorative items is a great way to get in the Halloween spirit. This kid-friendly activity engages their creativity and keeps them focused on something other than candy. Order some supplies online, or safely visit a local crafts store to stock up. Decorating your home is a festive family activity that keeps everyone safe and sufficiently spooked.

Masks on masks.

Keep in mind that your child’s Darth Vader mask won’t help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and Influenza. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth mask under any costume mask. If your kids are participating in outdoor, socially distanced Halloween activities, make sure that they are wearing proper masks underneath their costumes—and that there is at least six feet of space between them and others at all times.

From all of us at ZOOM+Care, have a happy and COVID-safe Halloween!


If you’re frightened by COVID-19 and Influenza this Halloween, ZOOM+Care is here to help. We offer five-minute flu shots and COVID-19 testing. Schedule a visit today for a safe (and scary) Halloween.

Parents, Here’s Some Advice for Staying Sane during the Coronavirus

Daughter and mom wearing diy face masks for protetion against coronavirus, walking in the street.

Parents, let’s level with each other: As much as we love our kids, we also love dropping them off at school. As many a grandma loves to say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”—and that old adage rings truer than ever during the coronavirus. Being a parent is never easy, but it’s especially trying when there are no teachers and caregivers to tag in and give you a breather.

An estimated 1.38 billion kids are out of school globally, participating in e-learning programs or being homeschooled. To make matters worse, activities like team sports, play dates, and sleepovers are next to impossible to do safely. Add working from home and the virus itself to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for fatigue, anxiety, and a host of other challenging emotions. 

Even a superhero would struggle with feeding the kids, keeping them entertained, having a video call with grandma and grandpa, and doing the laundry on a weeknight (let alone finding time for self care). But there are little things parents can do that might help them feel less overwhelmed—and more in touch with their emotions during these challenging times.

Parenting during the coronavirus is complicated

If it seems like parenting is challenging right now, it’s because it is. A recent study found that many different factors influence parent stress, anxiety, and depression during the pandemic. Researchers found that good marital relationships, strong social bonds, families interacting harmoniously, and the absence of a family history of mental illness may have had a positive impact on parent mental health. Even the ages of kids in the house can have an effect. Parents with kids in middle and high school experienced higher rates of stress, anxiety, and depression than those of kids in elementary school.

Be patient with yourself—and have confidence in your parenting

Sometimes the easiest person to blame when things are difficult is ourselves, but try to keep self-blame in perspective. Remember that you’re doing your best, and that the coronavirus is unprecedented for most people. Be understanding and compassionate with yourself. Even if you feel overwhelmed, remember that you’re doing your best to raise kids during a tumultuous global pandemic. No one is expected to navigate this perfectly, so be gracious with yourself when you make mistakes.

Find creative ways to recharge

Even if you’re tethered to your home, try to find ways to unplug from “caretaker mode” through soothing projects or activities. A silver lining of the pandemic is having more time to focus on things you may not normally have time for. Gardening, drawing, reading, playing music—anything that feels soothing and fulfilling. If breaking off isn’t possible, think about ways that you can engage your kids in the same fulfilling activities. You might just find lovely family moments in the process.

If you’re co-parenting, consider scheduling time for each of you to break off and tend to your own needs. Walk around the neighborhood, go for a long bike ride, or read a book in the park. Spending time by yourself has proven psychological benefits, such as enhanced self-esteem and motivation.

Pay attention to your news and media consumption

With a global pandemic, national unrest, and elections around the corner, there’s a lot of stress in the media. Consider how the news you’re consuming is affecting your mental health. Staying informed is important, but the World Health Organization recommends limiting the amount of news coverage that makes you feel anxious or distressed.

Video calls with family and friends can be a great alternative to stressful media. They’re a great way to stay connected and engaged with the closest people in your life.

How ZOOM+Care can help.  

If parenting during the coronavirus has you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed, ZOOM+Care can help. Set up a visit with one of our on-demand mental health specialists today. We also offer virtual visits through VideoCare™ if an in-person visit isn’t the best fit for you.

ZOOM+Care’s on-demand mental health specialists give great guidance and help you take care of yourself, giving you tools to feel better on your own. They can also help with medication management, and give counseling referrals if needed.

Coping with Job Uncertainty during COVID-19

Workers in every industry are feeling the COVID-19 crunch. More than 30 million people have filed unemployment claims since March—almost a quarter of the American workforce. Regardless of whether you still have your job, employment changes can bring up difficult emotions. It’s important to be patient with yourself and preserve your mental health. Here are some helpful tips for coping during this difficult time.

How to cope with ‘layoff survivor’s guilt’ and get back to normal

Survivor’s guilt” occurs when people survive something many others don’t. Survivors of life-threatening events often experience this, but researchers have also seen it in people kept after a round of layoffs. If you weren’t let go, you may experience thoughts like, “Why did they choose me?” You may even feel personally responsible for your co-workers losing their jobs. These thoughts can be confusing, but try to stay grounded and realistic.

Remember: it’s not about you. 

It’s important to remember that your co-worker’s layoff wasn’t related to their performance. It also isn’t a sign of your value in relation to theirs. Layoffs are strictly business decisions that are out of your control, especially during COVID-19. You can feel empathy, but remember that feelings of personal responsibility or self-blame aren’t useful. Layoffs are about much more than one person.

Look inward.

It may also be a good time to take stock of where you’re at in your career trajectory. Is this the right job for you at this moment? If so, what kind of growth opportunities will these layoffs create for you, such as new projects, or managerial opportunities you didn’t have before the crisis? Try to find the silver lining in this situation and make the most of it.

Reach out for help. 

You also don’t have to navigate these feelings by yourself. Talk therapy is a helpful resource in making sense of layoff survivor’s guilt. Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs, which offer counseling benefits. It may be worth reviewing your current benefits package to see if these resources are available. If not, don’t hesitate to reach out to close friends and family to help process your emotions.

Be healthy. 

Try to keep a healthy routine and lifestyle during this stressful time. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercise, water, and nutritious food. Also, get outdoors when you can. Remember that this crisis will pass, and your friends who lost their jobs will recover.

Preserving mental health during unemployment

If you’ve recently lost your job, it’s natural to feel your mind racing and switching into survival mode. Try to slow your thinking and focus on preserving your mental health. There are several strategies that can keep you centered during this challenging time.

Keep your cool.

It’s important to stay calm after a layoff. Avoid jumping into a frenzied job search. Focus on mindfulness and being in the moment. Go for a long walk or run in your neighborhood. Bake something delicious. Spend a weekend in the wilderness. Whatever you need to do to unplug and reset will help set you up for success.


Tend to your emotions. 

Researchers have found that tending to your emotions after a layoff is more effective than jumping into job searching right away. You’ll have plenty of time to refresh your resume and reach out to LinkedIn contacts when you’re ready. Putting your emotions on the back burner and searching for a new job out of panic may not get you the results you’re looking for. Take time to process.

Again, it’s not about you. 

Just like for those experiencing layoff survivor’s guilt, remember that this decision wasn’t about you. Your manager took many different factors into consideration. They don’t think any less of you or your contributions. Your job loss also doesn’t mean you have less value than your co-workers who kept their jobs. Their jobs may fill more urgent needs for the business’s survival right now, but that has no bearing on your value as a person. Take solace in knowing that this pandemic was out of your control and that you can rely on your experience to land another great position.

Trust the process. 

After you’ve recharged and connected with your emotions, jump into the job hunt—with a healthy dose of patience and trust. COVID-19 is still affecting many businesses, and there are record numbers of unemployed workers. Remember that millions of people are in your exact position, and the best thing you can do is stay confident and persistent. You may experience rejection along the way, and that’s okay. Don’t lose sight of your value and worth as an employee, and trust that you’ll emerge from this layoff just fine.

How ZOOM+Care can help.  

If you’ve recently lost your job, or you’re feeling layoff survivor’s guilt, ZOOM+Care can help. Set up a visit with one of our on-demand mental health specialists today. We also offer virtual visits through VideoCare™ if an in-person visit isn’t the best fit for you.

ZOOM+Care’s on-demand mental health specialists give great guidance and help you plug back into your life, giving you tools to feel better on your own. They can also help with medication management, and give counseling referrals if needed.