Get diagnosed through your mobile device with new Doctor on Demand app
The medical house call as we know it has been dead for decades, but if Doctor on Demand has its way, that will quickly be changing. This new service lets consumers see a licensed physician via video chat at a price of $40 per visit of up to 15 minutes in length. Doctor on Demand launches today in 15 U.S. states.
As you might expect, Doctor on Demand is focused on non-emergency issues. Users enter their symptoms and any allergies and current medications, along with payment information. A video or voice chat (user's choice) is then initiated, during which you can ask the physician just about anything, and even share photographs if you'd like an opinion on that nasty rash or insect bite.
Doctor on Demand's member physicians can even write prescriptions (short of serious drugs like oncology medication and narcotics), and while they readily can't order lab work or X-rays, they can provide specialist referrals if your issue can't be easily resolved over the phone.
The company says its physicians (1,000 are currently on the network) are all fully licensed and highly qualified, and users are offered the opportunity to rate the service they received after each call. (By the way, if you're a doctor, Doctor on Demand says you can make more than $200,000 a year providing services on the platform, and you can work from anywhere and at hours you set -- not bad for talking on the phone from your bedroom for a few hours a day.)
There's virtually no aspect of the doctor-patient relationship that hasn't been addressed by Doctor on Demand's design. The service is HIPAA-certified and private (at least as private as you are able to make your living room), and payment can be arranged from specialized accounts, like the Health Care Spending Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts that many employers provide to workers as a benefit. It's basically like going to the regular doctor, only without having to sift through all the bad magazines.
Is this the future of medicine? While Americans fret over ballooning health care costs and long waits for appointments, only to be seen by cold, uncaring physicians, the ability to take more control over your health care must be appealing. Given the limitations of virtual presence, Doctor on Demand isn't a perfect solution, but it does go a long way toward democratizing the health care system, particularly for users with immediate questions, like nervous parents with a fever-stricken child who aren't keen on venturing to the ER in the middle of the night.
So, would you let an e-doctor take a crack at diagnosing you?