I’m always on the lookout for ways to save money on health care that I can share with you, so I took a look at a new kind of telemedicine. You may have heard of free services like Ask a Nurse that allow you to call a toll-free number and talk to a registered nurse about symptoms, reactions to prescriptions, etc.
Another kind of telemedicine is now available that lets you download an app for your iphone and connect with a nurse or doctor, or a medical library. This searchable content comes from institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. You can search for symptoms with this. And, you access the medical encyclopedia in English and Spanish.
Calling a Registered Nurse with Urgent Care
One of these medical advice and registered nurse responder apps is available from GreatCall.com. It’s called Urgent Care, and it’s available as a free download in iTunes Store for anyone in the U.S. This app offers instant access to a registered nurse and/or doctor 24/7. The way it works is you talk with a registered nurse (for $3.99) who can connect you with a board-certified doctor if needed at no extra cost.
Doctors are supposed to call you within 30 minutes. And, the website says the doctors can diagnose a wide range of conditions over the phone and can prescribe. I must admit that I have some qualms over taking a drug (with potential side effects) based on a phone call. So, like anything that could result in a bad drug reaction, use a lot of commonsense about when to use this app and the medical advice that comes with it.
No App Can Substitute in a Medical Emergency
In an emergency, you should still go to a hospital, but this app might save you the cost of a doctor appointment for a problem that’s not an immediate danger. It’s not easy to get a doctor appointment the same day either. Plus, this app could take care of a minor problem without making you travel to get a doctor’s opinion.
In the right situation, apps like this could save you money and time. They might also help you get treatment faster, or put your mind at ease sooner. Considering what a doctor appointment costs (depending on your health insurance situation), $4 is a bargain.
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.