Navigating a healthcare system can be an overwhelming experience no matter where you are, but finding your way in a foreign country’s healthcare system can be especially confusing. Knowing whether your symptoms necessitate a trip to the Emergency Room, Pronto Soccorso in Italian, or could be solved with a general medical doctor/ MedinAction visit can be difficult, as each choice provides a different type of care and comes with its own benefits.


What are the benefits of MedinAction?

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MedinAction is great for health concerns that would normally be taken care of with your family doctor, not for issues that are life- or limb- threatening. One major benefit of a Medinaction doctor coming to visit you in your home is a much shorter waiting time than you might experience in the ER. In the ER, patients with life-threatening conditions are prioritized whether they arrived before or after you did – and rightly so! Patients who have gone to the ER without life threatening emergencies have reported waiting times of up to 8 hours. Why not have the doctor come to you!

Communication is key when trying to describe your health concern or receiving instructions and prescriptions related to health. Patients who have visited public hospitals in Italy have reported being unable to find available hospital staff who could speak English. MedinAction doctors are guaranteed to speak English, ensuring the important message will not be lost in translation. MedinAction is also partnered with local hospitals. Should your MedinAction physician decide that you need blood tests, imaging, or to see a specialist, they will direct you to the hospital where these next steps can be done.


When should you go to the ER?

pronto soccorsoIf you believe that a medical condition is life- or limb- threatening, call 1-1-2 (the Italian version of the American 9-1-1). The ER specializes in stabilizing emergencies, and is the best equipped place to do so, with trained staff and access to high-tech medical equipment. The ER is also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – meaning your emergency can be taken care of no matter when it happens. Some concerning symptoms that may best be address in an Emergency Room include:

-Sudden changes in neurological function ~ numbness or loss of muscle strength, which may indicate a stroke

-Vision loss

-Severe chest pain and pressure, which may indicate a heart attack

-Severe shortness of breath

-Severe wounds or injuries

-Symptoms of a bone fracture such as swelling

-A head injury that involves loss of consciousness, nausea/vomiting, or neurologic changes


-Toxic ingestion

-Thoughts of hurting yourself or others

-Concerning symptoms in patients with underlying illnesses such as lung or heart disease

-Severe pain in the right lower area of your abdomen

-Severe testicular swelling or pain

-A high fever over 38 degrees Celsius accompanied by severe abdominal pain or a headache

-Fever over 38 degrees Celsius in infants less than 2 months old

As a general rule of thumb, if you are able to walk, talk, and think normally, you would probably be better off calling MedinAction.


If you are still uncertain if you should seek medical treatment from a General Medical Doctor/ home visit with MedinAction, or if instead you should go to the emergency department you can always chat online with Medinaction for free!

Remember, you can chat for free through the Medinaction website, discuss your symptoms and decide if you require an appointment for a doctors home visit, a trip to the emergency department or just some free advice!

~ Online Chat on our webiste or app

~ Call/ Whatsapp or Text Message + 39 375 5724 686

~ MedinAction iOS app

About the Author: Vincent Lee

Vincent Lee is a fourth-year medical student at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. In June 2018 he will start his residency in emergency medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.