Every one of us has experienced the frustration of waiting for hours in a Doctors office. As much as we understand that Doctors are saving lives or have some other more urgent matters to attend to, it is still a hassle especially when you also have a lot of things to do too. However, the advancement of technology has made it possible to make General Physicians more accessible. Similar to apps like Postmate and Foodpanda, you can now connect with a GP via mobile Apps. It has become as convenient as ordering food online.
Healthtap,Doctorspring and American Well are some of the apps which promise to change the healthcare delivery model. They saw the need for a bridge that connects patients and doctors especially in this day and age where medical care has become more and more difficult to avail.
How Does it Work?
Basically, the first thing that a patient has to do is to download the App. Some companies such as Doctorspring also let you ask query without actually downloading any app.Then the users have to fill in their account details such as name, age, gender, etc. Only Patients 18 years old and above are allowed to use this app. This step does not really take time. In Fact, you can finish signing up in under a minute.
Once a profile is made, you will now be able to chat and connect with board-certified and licensed doctors about your concerns. Also, once done with the signup process and you have inputted your question, the app prompts to direct you to a close match in terms of a doctor. So for example, if your question is about heart palpitations, the app directs you to the available cardiology specializing doctor who has better knowledge about that area.
From there, ask your medical concerns and these doctors will provide you with professional advice on what actions you can take next. Doctors will do their best to answer your inquiries but read the terms and conditions of the app. It states there that advises from these doctors should not be considered as a legitimate medical opinion and the patient should still go and visit their Primary Care Physicians.
First Opinion boasts several board-certified and licensed doctors who are 24/7 accessible in the app. These doctors are also specialists in terms of Telehealth. According to the Center for Connected Health Policies, Telehealth is any medical practice that is delivered via modern communication technologies. Which in this case is via chat. These doctors are mostly based in California and First Opinion has meticulously hand pick each one of them based on their experience and credentials.
However, aside from doctors, this app also offers help from health coaches. These coaches are thoroughly trained via the Doctorspring platform on medical knowledge and also have years of experience in the field but are not necessarily doctors. These help coaches refer to other medical professionals as well and may help you figure out what is wrong with your condition. Questions asked to these doctors can range from the following topics:
- Allergies, rashes, acne and insect bites
- Symptoms of HIV or STIs such as Herpes and Chlamydia
- Proper birth control practices and contraception
- Chills, fatigue, fever, sore throat or coughs
- Stomach issues such as pain, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Or cosmetic issues such as hair loss and skin discoloration
In terms of emergency situations such as anaphylactic shocks or difficulty of breathing or any forms of a medical emergency, Doctorspring suggests that these patients immediately call 911 before any undesirable scenario persists to occur.
Signing up in the App is Absolute free as well as asking doctors questions and then answering it. Payment will only incur in specific instances such as when medication is envolve. However, before proceeding to any kind of treatment and medication, your consent will be asked and fees and charges will be discussed before taking the next step. The use of this App also does not require any form of insurance which makes it great for those who do not have any premium but need medical advice.
Most of these apps are available for everyone with a phone but regulated by geographical location.Some app cater to USA or UK audience exclusively. But,both Healthtap and Doctorspring have international focus.
These apps are ideal for individuals who worry about how to cover their medical expenses when they go to hospitals. We also have to recognize that there are patients who are hesitant to be face to face with doctors because of their medical concerns. The effort to bridge patients and doctors is admirable. Although it might not be perfect and needs improvement in some aspects, the important thing is that they are now a better way for people to access trusted medical professionals.