My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She lived in Canada. I was concerned with a couple things her physician was doing. I wondered whether it was the best approach. For me, online doctors made all the difference.
Where do you go with a specific health question these days?
- Book a doctor visit, and wait the average 18.5 days for your visit?
- Google it and tread through 60 pages of info?
- Try to get a reliable answer from WebMD?
- Ask your “friends” on Facebook?
Well, I went with a “Doctors Online” service. At noon, I emailed the details of her specific situation and her physician’s plan. Before the end of the workday, I had an email back from a physician who was a cancer specialist. She explained that based upon what I described, the physician’s plan was right in line with the current best practices. She also gave me some great resources to learn more about lung cancer. While the service had a monthly fee, there was no additional cost for the session… but it paid me huge dividends in peace of mind!
How does it work?
Members email questions to a team of physician specialists who respond in an average 3 hours (maximum 24 hours). Because the doctors have the luxury of not responding instantaneously, they can call on experts within their wide-reaching network of other specialists, teaching hospitals, and specialty centers. This makes their responses personal, timely, and amazingly well researched. Plus, if the member has a follow-up question the next day, they’re just another email away. It's more convenient than ever to ask online doctors questions and have them respond as they have time, within a few hours via email.
How is it different than telehealth?
Many people are familiar with telehealth services. Telehealth doctor visits by phone/video are with primary care physicians for acute care / short term issues, which more often than not result in a prescription. However, many issues are bigger than that. The Doctors Online service we’re discussing greatly expands the type of medical issues that can be handled remotely, rather than in person. You won’t get a prescription through this service, but online doctors will give you trustworthy, personalized medical advice in a few hours.
What types of questions can I ask?
Just about anything - this service is the hypochondriac’s dream! Users can ask day in-day out medical questions like…
- A dog bit me while I was jogging. The owner says his shots are up to date. Should I be concerned?
- This is a picture of an odd-shaped growth on my arm. Is it bad? Any ideas?
- My recent blood test is attached. My white cells are low. What does this mean and what do I do?
- My knee hurts when jogging. Can I rehab it myself?
- I lost my mom and best friend last year. I have no energy & gained 25 lbs. I think I’m depressed. Can you help?
- I’m scheduled for my first angiogram next week. What should I expect?
Is this a good employee benefit?
Yes, it’s a great way to increase access to care as part of an employee benefit program. This service has been available since 1999 and is staffed by US-based, board-certified physicians. Over 1 million families are being serviced in all 50 states and 70 countries with ZERO malpractice claims. The types of providers available include…
- All physician specialties
- Fitness trainers
Are there proven results?
In short, this service saves unnecessary medical claims. While intuitively obvious, the research backs this up and clarifies the size of the savings. According to a large-scale independent study by HISTECON Associates, there was a statistically significant reduction in health costs for users, compared to non-users.
Members report that 1/3 of their visits with online doctors save an in-person visit. We also see that Doctors Online users get addicted to the easy access to physician advice: the average user has 4+ sessions per year.