Cold and flu season is upon us in full force. And the only thing worse than nonstop coughing and sneezing is waiting in reception areas at the doctor's office for hours with 10 other people doing the same thing as you wait because you didn't have an appointment. And forget about going to the ER as 71 percent of emergency rooms visits should be handled by your primary care physician. Going to the hospital will not cut down your time, but instead cost about $580 more than if you saw your doctor.
Thankfully, setting up a time to see your doctor ASAP is easy as a few swipes on your smartphone. More and more doctors are joining forces with techies and entrepreneurs to provide on-demand doctor services through Uber and Yelp-inspired apps. Here are the best apps to use when you are in need of a doctor.
ZocDoc is a well-known website that helps you find a doctor that accepts your insurance in your area. ZocDoc's free app does the same thing right from the convenience of your palm. Users can read reviews from other patients, and view open dates and times to book appointments without having to call.
In the 1930s, 40 percent of medical visits were house calls. Today, this service is pretty much nonexistent because insurance carriers will not fund it. However, Oscar Salazar, the co-founder of Uber, has used his popular cab model and applied it to health care. Salazar developed the app Pager, where doctors make hour calls to those in New York from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the year. Pager users will pay $49 for their first house call ($199 after), and if there is an emergency, a doctor will also make a house call on nights and weekends for an additional fee. Download the free app and request a visit from a board-certified doctor in your area. They will arrive within two hours to your home or hotel room to treat infections, injuries or other acute illnesses.
Doctor On Demand
If you don't have the time to make it to the doctor or wait around for one to come to your home, but still need to be assessed, then Doctor On Demand is for you. The app lets you video chat with a board-certified doctor, so they can diagnose your ailment and prescribe medications if need be. However, some medications cannot be prescribed via Video Visit. Doctor On Demand cuts the wait time for cold, flu, allergy, STDs, back pain, or pediatric care. You can also talk with a psychologist if you are suffering from stress and anxiety, all from the comfort of your own home. The app is free to download, but users will have to pay $40 for the video chat session.
HealthTap allows you to ask medical questions for free from a list of more than 65,000 handpicked top U.S. doctors. Users ask questions real-time, anytime, from anywhere; however, questions are limited to 150 characters. With 100 million active users, the app has no ads. The app also provides news curated by the doctors and tips and checklist to improve your overall health. HealthTap Prime users also get unlimited medical advice via video chat, prescription refills delivered to their door, and a secure place to manage all their health data for $99. You can also consult your personal primary care physician for $44, or just stick with the basic free plan to ask anonymous questions.
The free app, iTriage helps users get more information about their health based on the symptoms they are experiencing. For example, if you are suffering from "red eyes," search the terms and a list of options will appear, such as where you can find medical help nearby, descriptions of possible illnesses, causes, treatments, and more. The app was created by two ER doctors, and all content is reviewed by the Harvard Medical School. iTriage provides you locations of hospital urgent care, clinics, pharmacies and mental health clinics with the average wait times. You can also check-in when you are on the way to reduce wait time.
Health apps continue to transform the health care industry in an attempt to reduce hospital costs and provide services to those in need of a doctor.
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