Telehealth has been around for a while, but with the coronavirus pandemic hitting, medical professionals are making it a priority for treatment. Rather than having hospitals become inundated with worried patients, doctors are encouraging people to use telehealth apps for pre-screening and early diagnosis.
One such app, K-Health, launched in 2018 and now has almost two million users. Getting yourself set up on this app is similar to other apps that hospitals are using. The guide below will get you the info you need to understand how this and other telehealth apps work, but you should check with your local hospital, healthcare provider, or insurance company to see if they recommend a particular app.
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. However, your insurance provider or primary care physician may have an app or system that is covered by your current plan.
On Call: Other Telehealth Apps
Some local physicians are using basic apps like Zoom, Google Chat, and Facetime to connect with patients. There are legitimate privacy concerns with these options, but if it gets you seen then it may be worth it. Again, this is why we suggest you contact your doctor’s office to see if they have a preferred telehealth communication method.
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.
More Info on K-Health’s Expansion
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.”