What the Tech: Online doctors

Local News

When you’re sick one of the last things you want to do is crawl out of bed and go to your doctor’s office. Sometimes I feel if I’m not sick when I get there I will be when I leave. Lots of sick people in the waiting room with a cold or the flu and they’re all coughing and sneezing near me. Did you know that many common illnesses can be diagnosed correctly by hearing what symptoms you have? Many doctors can diagnose and treat things like a cold, the flu and allergies by asking a few questions and looking down your throat and into your eyes.

In the past year, many doctors around the country began seeing patients online by partnering with one of the growing lists of online or telemedicine companies. These “doctors on your device” allow doctors to see you now through the camera on your device..

Teledoc, Doctor on Demand and MDLive are three such companies that continue to grow both in patients and physicians practicing online.

Which one is right for you?

Teledoc, Doctor on Demand and MDLive all allow for teleconferencing with a doctor. It likely won’t be with your primary care physician but another doctor who is board certified and licensed to practice in your state. You can schedule an appointment right in their app (all three are available for Android and iOS devices). They’ll ask you a few simple questions before the visit such as what you’re feeling and any symptoms. You’ll also be asked for some background on your health history.

Once the questions are answered and submitted you’ll be in line to see a doctor. You may have to wait a few minutes on the next available physician or you may schedule a definite time for an appointment.

The doctor will consult with you just as if you’re in their office and may ask you to take your temperature, show them where it hurts and even hold the device’s camera up to your eyes. When my wife was too sick with the flu to get to a doctor’s office, she used Doctor on Demand and the physician asked her to “open wide and say aaahh”. Doctors tell me if the patient has a good internet connection they are able to see with some detail what is troubling the patient and make an accurate diagnosis.

Physicians with all three apps can diagnose most common illnesses such as the flu, a cold, allergies and even urinary tract infections. They’ll also submit prescriptions to your pharmacy just as your primary care physician will do.

Teledoc is a subscription-based provider. For $10 a month for an individual or $20 for a family you have unlimited access to its physicians and can make an appointment at any time. Doctor on Demand and MDLive charge per visit, just like your doctor. Doctor on Demand charges $75 for a visit while MDLive’s cost, according to the website, is $79.

With fears of the coronavirus spreading across the globe Wall Street investors see a tremendous upside to telemedicine. Shares of Teladoc continue to go up while the stock market as a whole is trending down

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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