My Experience Using Telemedicine

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Photo credit: https://aluance.digital/acuity/506/future-of-telemedicine-depends-on-patient-buy-in/

Ashley Wilkinson, Contributing Writer, Henderson TX

For a couple of days now, my body has felt… off. I have been nauseous, gotten dizzy spells, gotten chills, and have an upset stomach. And naturally, on my Thanksgiving road trip to see my immediate family, I developed motion sickness for the first time ever. Growing up, I have experienced minor stomach issues, but they would often disappear within a day, at most. Today marks day four. Since these issues have caused me to call in sick to work so many days in a row, I now must provide a doctor’s note to excuse my absence.

Let me provide a little background here. Growing up, my parents avoided doctor’s visits as much as possible. We only went when it was absolutely necessary. Consequently, I have not been to a doctor for years. Recently, I turned 18 and moved two hours away from my parents, while still being on their health insurance. I was clueless on how to schedule a doctor’s appointment and how it would work with our health insurance. My mother informed me that I would have to pay $40 for a sick visit, or I could schedule a virtual doctor’s appointment instead and the insurance would completely cover the costs. Of course, being a broke college student, I decided to give telemedicine a try.

I started with a Google search into telemedicine services and was quickly overwhelmed with all the options in front of me. After researching and debating, I decided to use MDLive. All I had to do was create an account, tell them my symptoms, provide them with my insurance information, set a pharmacy, and look through a list of doctors to see who I would like to schedule an appointment with. Although it sounds like a lot to do, it honestly took me maybe five to ten minutes. I gave the doctor my phone number and waited for the call at the scheduled time.

The doctor’s appointment went well. MDLive called right on time and connected me with my chosen doctor. She listened as I described my symptoms, asked follow-up questions, and answered my questions. In the end, she was not able to diagnose me, but she did prescribe some medicine to alleviate my symptoms and directed me to go to a local, in-person doctor’s appointment if my symptoms continued. I did feel somewhat limited because the appointment was over the phone. At the end of the day, telemedicine is a great way to ask for a doctor’s advice on mild concerns, but it definitely does not replace in-person doctor’s visits.