Doctor On Demand App Gives Patients Access to Board-Certified Physicians in Under Two Minutes
By Kelly Close
Twitter Summary: At #CES2015, @DrPhil discusses the DoctorOnDemand app - gives access to physicians + psychologists in under 2 min. for $50 or less!
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), TV celebrity Dr. Phil McGraw discussed the Doctor On Demand app, which connects any patient with a Board Certified physician or pediatrician via video chat in just two minutes. To use Doctor On Demand, patients download the app, give some background on their medical history, enter information on what’s wrong, and the app connects them to a health care provider from there. The service is currently available in 47 US states (excluding Arkansas, Louisiana, and Alaska) and can be accessed through the iPhone, iPad, Android, and on the web. Doctor on Demand’s hours of operation are 7 am to 11 pm local time (we're hoping it will one day become available 24 hours a day). A 15-minute session costs $40, which is a bit higher than the average co-pay many patients have for in-office visits, and the program currently does not accept health insurance. From the app demo at CES and from Kelly’s experience (more on that below), the Doctor On Demand app is quite sleek and the video chat is as easy to use as Facetime or Skype. Patients can find pharmacists and manage their prescriptions right from their smartphone – no more hard-to-read prescriptions or the potential to lose the prescription slip. Dr. Phil characterized the service as a “game-changer” and proposed that it could address 17 of the top 20 reasons people see a doctor (the flu, skin conditions, etc.) – these day-to-day conditions seem to be a key focus of Docotor on Demand, as opposed to more chronic conditions like full-time diabetes management. To learn more about Doctor on Demand’s policies and most frequently asked questions, please see this page.
Kelly had the chance to test out the Doctor on Demand app, and it took her about ten minutes after downloading the app to start video chatting with a cool doc on her smartphone. Kelly’s session took about five minute total, and as soon as it was done, the doctor sent an antibiotic prescription straight to the pharmacy for her. 20 minutes later, she got a text saying it was ready to be picked up, and in under an hour, she had her prescription from Walgreens. For those who prioritize speed and low hassle over familiarity of their own doctor (or health center), or even those without insurance, this is a real win.
Doctor On Demand has launched a new mental health service to offer patients ongoing support for stress, depression, relationship help, and more. Patients can access a doctorate-level psychologist via video chat, at the cost of $50 for a 25-minute session and $95 for a 50-minute session.
There certainly has been a lot of excitement around how novel digital technology can change the patient-provider relationship. A recent survey found that 64% of patients are willing to have video visits with their physicians, and the telehealth industry is expected to expand 10-fold by 2018. Apps like Doctor on Demand could play a major role in bringing telehealth mainstream; notably, Richard Branson (the man behind the Virgin Group empire), has recently invested in Doctors On Demand. The biggest benefits of virtual health apps are in lowering costs and saving time, particularly for those who cannot access care nearby. In a disease like diabetes, where blood glucose data can be analyzed remotely, there certainly is a lot of potential for technology to improve care. For more information on the role of virtual health in diabetes, check out our conference pearls from AADE 2014. –AJW/KC/AB