the more affordable way to talk to a doctor
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013 saw a total of 922.6 million individual doctor visits. The most frequent reasons for these visits involved coughing, while the most commonly diagnosed condition was essential hypertension or high blood pressure.
About 53.2% of these visits were made to primary care physicians, the remaining visits involved emergency rooms, urgent care, and walk-in clinics.
While primary and urgent care centers play an important role in the healthcare system, they come with a variety of drawbacks, from commutes to long wait times to congested waiting rooms. Combining this with many people’s inability to afford health insurance means many conventional, in-person physicians are inaccessible.
Talking with a doctor online has become more popular, offering easy access to healthcare in the convenience of your own home.
Let’s take a closer look at how talking with a doctor online benefits you as the consumer and patient, the costs of medical consultations, and how you can take advantage of them to maintain great health and wellbeing.
Some challenges with Primary & Urgent Care Centers
As necessary as they are, conventional primary and urgent care centers come with a wide range of potential issues.
Too Many Patients
One of the biggest issues involves sheer visit numbers. While the demand for good urgent care centers and walk-in clinics has remained high, the decline in resources and clinic staff has led to fewer urgent care centers across the country.
The scarcity of clinics in many areas forces potential patients to travel long distances just to see a doctor, presenting accessibility problems for those who don’t have easy access to a car or public transportation, not to mention the inconvenience and time wasted traveling.
Some in-person urgent care clinics are not open seven days a week. This can make it difficult for many people to visit urgent care centers on their own schedules.
Ultimately, all of these factors—few clinics, long commutes, limited hours, and days of operation—can lead to packed waiting rooms with long wait times. This is more than just an annoyance. The extra stress of being in an overcrowded waiting room can negatively affect your health, flooding your body with stress hormones that can hamper your immune system.
ER is not the only option for seeing a doctor
While ER visits can leave you with a medical bill of $500 or more, urgent care visits typically only cost between $100 and $200. If you have health insurance, you’ll only have to pay the amount of your copay (the fee you pay for care after you’ve met your deductible and insurance has started helping out), which is typically between $35 and $75 for a trip to urgent care.
Pro Tip: If you’re uninsured, going to the emergency room isn’t your only option. Many urgent care centers post their prices online so that people without insurance know exactly how much they can expect to pay before they visit the doctor. Some even offer cash-pay discounts or payment plans for people that are paying for their care out of pocket.
When it comes to health concerns that are urgent, but not necessarily an emergency, patients can save hundreds of dollars by talking with a physician online.
Urgent Care Associated Illness
Full waiting rooms can also cause healthcare-associated infections. Infections such as Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 may develop while getting treated for other medical or surgical conditions, including urinary tract infections caused by a catheter and infection of a surgical site.
Sitting in the confined space of a waiting room for potentially hours with other ill people can easily lead to you contracting an illness.
For instance, you may be asked to wait with other patients before you’re treated for a sinus infection. During this time it is likely that you will be surrounded by other sick and contagious people.
If you’re next to someone with a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, you’re putting your already weakened immune system at risk; you may actually walk out sicker than when you walked in.
Additionally, like a sick patient, you risk infecting those around you, including other waiting patients and even the doctor who sees you.
It’s convenient to talk with a doctor online
While some people may hesitate to seek medical help online, online physicians are extremely qualified and offer more accessible, affordable, convenient, and can provide comprehensive services to patients.
At Chat Live MD we provide primary and urgent care assistance, meaning we treat any common illness or injuries that are not life-threatening. This includes diagnosis and personalized online prescription medication.
According to a recent U.S. doctor’s survey, 90% of diagnoses can be made by asking the right questions. It costs you less to talk with a doctor online than to visit an Urgent Care or an emergency room.
At Chat Live MD, each doctor has trained at one of the top 25 medical institutions in the country, including Stanford, Harvard, UCLA, Yale, UCSF, and Baylor, ensuring that you get quality care from knowledgeable medical professionals. You can talk with doctors who have an average of 15 years of experience and can give accurate diagnoses and prescriptions online.
In fact, 97% of conditions can be treated after you speak with a doctor online during the first visit.
What to expect when I talk with a doctor online:
Online medical consultations differ from platform to platform. Most will require you to register an account with them to help provide doctors with the necessary information and maintain contact with physicians and supporting staff. Some services include apps for easy mobile access when you’re on the go.
Chat Live MD process involves three simple steps:
- Sign up
- Talk with your physician, psychologist, or nutritionist
- Pick up your prescription at your local pharmacy, if they were prescribed
Speak with a physician online right away or schedule your appointment
Schedule to speak with a doctor online by completing your patient registration
Whether you need a same-day appointment or want to plan ahead, doctor visits online are available 24/7. This is designed to give you complete control over your own doctor’s visits. Patients without health insurance can also talk with a doctor online without expecting any extra bills.