We’re all busy. We want quick and convenient in every aspect of our lives. Our desire for easy access to healthcare is no exception. Several companies are stepping up to fill that need. Just such an app, K-Health, launched in 2018 and now has almost two million users. Gone are the days of waiting hours for a call back from a doctor through this technology dubbed “telehealth.”
Prepping for Use
When setting up an account, users provide basic information about gender and age. Additional information can be added at any time, including allergies, surgical history, chronic health conditions, family history and current medications.
Users begin their “visit” by entering a symptom. The K-Health app asks questions to gather more information. This all works in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI) when assessing health complaints.
Next, information is provided about diagnoses and treatments based on K-Health’s database of patients. Users are then given the option of chatting with a board-certified doctor via the app. The app quotes a $14 fee for a live chat with a doctor and can include a diagnosis, prescriptions, even labs.
A spokesperson for K-Health tells Parentology, “As with any new technology, it takes time to prove efficacy and gain trust – especially when it comes to people’s health.
How K-Health is Expanding
Earlier this year, K-Health introduced K Primary Care, a service that enables people to chat with a doctor through the app for a diagnosis and prescription. K Primary Care operates in 38 states and has nearly 10,000 subscribers.
Susie Tran, a 30-year-old kindergarten teacher and lifestyle blogger of Mile High Dreamers, used the app recently when she became concerned about worsening pain from what she thought was a pulled chest muscle.
“It was Sunday night, and I don’t have a primary care doctor,” she tells Parentology. “I chose the option of chatting with a doctor who recommended I go to the emergency room (ER).”
It was a good call on both the K-Health doctor and Tran. Although her symptoms and lab results made the ER doctor suspicious of pneumonia or a blood clot in her lungs, it turned out that she had Atelectasis, a partial collapse of the lung.
Tran, who says she would use the app again, said, “I found it reassuring to have my symptoms assessed by an actual doctor. An ER visit isn’t cheap, and I didn’t want to spend that kind of money if I didn’t need to.”
On Call: Other Telehealth Apps
CirrusMD is a member-based app offered through insurance companies and integrated delivery networks. It allows subscribers to instantly chat with a physician, pharmacy representative or health plan rep. The app promotes the use of the platform as a way to increase patient satisfaction and decrease costs.
98Point6 is subscription-based and describes their services as “on-demand primary care.” They offer Personal Plans and an Employer-sponsored Plan. The Personal Plans are available for an introductory rate of $20 for the first year. After that, it is $120 per year. Each “visit” is $1. There’s no charge for people whose employer offers 98Point6. “Visits” are provided at either no cost or for a small fee to employees and their adult dependents.
98Point6’s website says they “learn from every visit, getting smarter every time you use it.” After providing information about your symptoms, You text with the physician.
With these telehealth options, it appears that Dr. Google may have some serious competition. Telehealth also may help reign in the problem of rising health care costs.