May 23, 2014
Telemedicine Is the New Digital Way to See the Doctor
By Monica Gleberman
Nothing is worse then sitting in a waiting room for hours to see a doctor when you are feeling sick. Back in the day, doctors used to make personal house calls and come see you from the comfort of your own bed. Since most of us have never even had that experience, it makes it hard to imagine that might once again become popular.
Picture this: You wake up and feel extremely sick and don’t have the energy or means to get to a doctor. So what do you do? Call a friend for help? Call an ambulance? Ask for a phone consult from your daily physician? Well, with telemedicine the medical field has changed completely and is now available to you 24/7 at the click of a button.
For example, MDLive is an online website dedicated to providing virtual care and treatment for patients 24/7. It’s really simple, you sign up for the service for $29 per month. That allows you to have six consultations. These consultations can be done from the computer (meaning you are having a video chat with your doctor), via email or on the phone. When you begin the service, you are asked a number of medical history questions and they create an online file for you. They also give you an account to access this information which can be updated at any time and a link to download their app, which also provides all of the same services as the website.
Once you are officially a member and you find yourself sick, you can go online to get yourself in a calling queue or you can give their 1800 number a call. You will first speak to a nurse who will take down your initial symptoms and then within 30 minutes a doctor will return a call to you asking for you to explain what is going on. They have the ability to prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatory, antibiotics, and more. Currently, they are working on being allowed to order lab tests and mental health scripts.
Besides the convenience of having a telemedicine service in your back pocket, you can save significantly. Instead of having to pay a copay to see your doctor and potentially wait hours, you can make a call during your lunch break or using your cell phone while never leaving your bed. In addition, you will also save money because none of these services require you to have health insurance. They are independent services that charge per month.
They will call medications into your preferred pharmacy and usually common pharmacies such as Walmart or CVS have their own wellness discounts that will discount your script if it’s a generic or common drug. This allows you to basically see a doctor and pick up medicine for as little as $10 with a monthly subscription.
Telemedicine is going to take the medical field by storm. The American Telemedicine Association (News - Alert) said it is growing fast. “Patient consultations via video conferencing, transmission of still images, e-health including patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education, consumer-focused wireless applications and nursing call centers, among other applications, are all considered part of telemedicine and telehealth,” said the association. “Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology. Consumers want telemedicine.”
Edited by Stefania Viscusi