I just recently did my first remote doctor visit, and it was life-changing.
I’m generally not the type who goes to the doctor. I sometimes go for years without seeing one, and I don’t even have a primary care physician. I haven’t for decades.
I was in Vegas for conferences a couple of years back and needed to get some anti-biotics really badly. I had a massive sinus infection and just needed a Z-Pack. Turns out, all I could do was go to the emergency room.
It’s never a good sign when you show up to a medical location and the first thing you see is security sitting behind bulletproof glass. Welcome to America.
I figure that won’t be that bad and head to the nearest clinic. They tell me when I walk in that it’s going to be a 3-hour wait—at a minimum. I was completely dumbfounded. I wanted to scream to everyone on the street, that I’m an American citizen, with the best insurance you can buy, and I’m physically unable to see a doctor without entering what basically equates to a war zone.
But I ended up at an ER. The one that people said was “the best option”, which told me quite a lot about how screwed I was. I got there and the place looked like a medical ward in a dystopian future, where the rich had discarded the working class to die. There were people slumped over, maybe alive, maybe dead, and the nurses and security didn’t evne look up at them. There was not an iota of concern to be had for miles.
I’m ashamed that this is the state of healthcare in our country. Some of the people there looked close to death. There were multiple altercations. A husband brought his wife in, barely able to walk, who basically passed out on the chair. It was clear that he’d waited days while she was seriously ill, and only came to the ER when he was actually worried she might die.
And then I felt like a complete asshole for feeling so inconvenienced by the whole thing. Here I was, upset that I couldn’t get very fast healthcare (all I needed was the script, really), and meanwhile there are people with no insurance, probably working two or three jobs, who were basically dying in front of me.
I was angry at myself, and I was angry at my country for putting us all in that position.
What that taught me was that 1) healthcare is seriously broken in this country, and 2) that I needed to figure out a better system for myself, because I was never going to do that again.
Oh, and I later got a bill for over $300.
For a while I was using Forward Health, which is a super neat new service where you walk in, get a body scan on something that seems like Star Trek, and you see a doctor very quickly while you see your stats on the wall next to you. It was quite good, but I already have great health insurance, so it was really hard to justify another couple of grand per year to get good healthcare.
That’s when I started looking into the new remote options that are being offered as apps now. They’re basically apps where you can chat with a doctor, do live appointments, and even get prescriptions—all remotely. And—importantly—most of the good ones take your insurance. So remote visits can be super cheap.
So I just tried one for the first time—called Doctor on Demand—and it was spectacular.
I opened the app, entered some symptoms, and went into the queue. And three (3) minutes later I was looking at a doctor on the screen. Three. Minutes. I really wish I had this back in Vegas.
Combine this with being able to connect your account with a local pharmacy that delivers, and now you’re living in the future. You can do an entire doctor visit in minutes, and have the pharmacy deliver your prescription within minutes as well. So we’re talking like a 1-2 hour turnaround from start to finish.
I’m horrified that American healthcare needed this disruption, but I’m so glad it happened. If you haven’t tapped into this new avenue for getting healthcare, I strongly suggest you look into it.
I recommend using the most popular ones, because they have a higher chance of having undergone some measure of security scrutiny. I’ve not tested any myself, though. I’m kind of afraid to look.
Try different apps and see how you like them. It doesn’t matter which one you use—just do it now—before you actually need it. Pick an app, connect your insurance, and have it ready.
You don’t want to be caught traveling like I was and be forced to sit in a room of unbelievably sick and suffering people for 3+ hours (while security glares at you from behind the glass) and then receive a $300 bill afterward as if they did you a favor.
- Healthcare in America is a travesty.
- If you have insurance, there are new tech-based options that are magical.
- You can use an app and see a doctor and have your prescription filled and delivered—all within a couple of hours.
- Find an app, sign up, and connect your insurance so you can be ready if you’re traveling or need to see a doctor quickly.
- Spread the message. Not enough people know about these options.