We’ve all been there. And if you haven’t, well…I don’t believe you. It’s the worst possible time (weekend, holiday, late night…you get the idea) and your child suddenly starts acting strange(r). Or develops a rash. Or gets a nasty cough and/or fever. You are faced with the decision to wait it out and hope for the best, or head to the local ER/Urgent Care…and hope for the best. Sometimes, waiting it out really doesn’t seem like a great option and, especially if you have more than one child, going to the ER or Urgent Care center isn’t a great option either. Maybe it’s just the germophobe in me (ok…LIKELY it’s the germophobe in me), but when I think of the ER or “doc in the box”, as we call the Urgent Care centers, I envision foul cesspools of mean, sharp-toothed germs. I have to sterilize my hand after using the pens, and I apparently always wear a sign that says, “Puking/plague ridden person, please sit as close to me as possible!”. Which means I have to burn my clothes and scrub my skin down Gattaca style when I get home. Ok, I’m not really THAT bad. But still. So, if that’s not your cup of tea, or if the thought of the exorbitant cost of such services makes you cringe, what’s a person to do? I FINALLY have a good answer to that question!
Before we get too far into my review, let’s talk basics. What is Doctor On Demand? The Doctor On Demand (DOD) app can be downloaded either from iTunes or the Google Play Store and, after install, it’s pretty painless to get connected to a doctor. Once you create your login, you are given the opportunity to input symptoms and allergies/medications before you dial a doctor (the “waiting room paperwork” if you will). No need to use a germy pen or expose yourself to the plague. Just plop down on the couch with your phone. All DOD doctors are US licensed and Board Certified and are background checked before joining the service.
To put Doctor On Demand the true test, I waited until July 4th to place my review call. I figured doing it on a holiday would give the most realistically indicative results. So, I let Thing 1 get hopped up on sugar, hid the blueberries from Thing 2, and waited until they were both shrieking like pterodactyls to place my call–I mean, we’re going for realistic here, right? (Ok, I didn’t really do either of those things, but the kids were definitely being loud, and the dog was click-clacking around the office and panting on me. Just another day in paradise…) After dialing, I had about a 45 second wait while a doctor was paged, and then another roughly 45 second wait while the doctor reviewed my information (kind of like when you’re on the exam room table listening for the tell-tale sound of rustling paper outside the door that will indicate it’s your turn…except you just see the words “Doctor is reviewing your information”. Takes some of the fun out of it, but oh well.) Here’s me in the waiting room:
When I first saw that your $40 call fee allows a 15 minute chat slot, I was appalled. How can you possibly have a meaningful doctor/patient experience in just 15 minutes?! Then I thought about it, and I realized that real doctors only reserve about that much time, and ER visits only take longer because of the 1,578 tests they run. Also, I managed to complete an entire interview in about 13 minutes. So…it seems the time constraint is really not that much of an issue.
One of my main concerns was finding out how effectively the DOD physicians can diagnose illnesses without seeing a patient in person. I also wondered, after reading the list of ailments for which DOD doctors can provide services, and seeing that it includes things like flu, bladder infections, and yeast infections, how they can accurately diagnose without tests. The doctor I spoke with assured me that, for an experienced doctor, as all DOD physicians are, many of these illnesses are diagnosed symptomatically and that antibiotics are not handed out willy-nilly. I was told, furthermore, that if ever a person seems to have a more urgent concern than the DOD docs feel comfortable handling, they are directed to see a physician in person. Although I’m still not entirely convinced of the efficacy of diagnosing bacterial infections accurately without testing and, although we are not anti-antibiotics, I’m a bit worried still about the increasing prevalence of super bugs as a result of overprescription of antibiotics. The doctor did assure me, however, that he uses the same caution with prescriptions when working for DOD as he does in his personal practice. So, rest assured, it’s not just a medication free for all.
I did find the connection to be a bit choppy at times, and I wondered what would happen if the call were to be disconnected. Which also led me back to the question of accurate diagnosis–surely there was no way someone would have been able to accurately examine a rash with a lack of clear picture. Which led me to also wonder if people without a video capable phone (do those kinds of phones even still exist?) could use DOD. The answer to the first question was answered when my call got disconnected. Within 2 minutes, someone from customer service had contacted me, and I was able to get a call reinstated. As for the sometimes lacking video quality, there is actually an option to send a picture for the doctor to see. Problem solved! As for the lack of video capability, there is also the option to disable video and do an audio only chat. And, as the doctor assured me, patients to whom the physician was unable to provide assistance were directed to see a doctor in person.
Over all, I was actually very impressed with the DOD service. Their customer service department was incredibly responsive, the doctor was very personable, and I didn’t have to leave the house. I’ve also read and heard several places that one of the most frustrating things for doctors is having less in-office time to spend with those patients who need more than a quick 15 minute consult because of the overwhelming number of people in with colds, sore throats, etc. This type of service could dramatically improve that, which means a lot to me as a mom (and general human being…mostly) who wants the doctor’s full attention and time when I’m truly concerned about something.
Now that you’re looking forward to going to the doctor without brushing your teeth or loading up the kids, let me tell you about the special deal that Doctor On Demand has given me for my lovely readers: download the app, set up your account, and enter code TFF14 for $10 off your call. Woohoo! Free money! (Also…there might be a contest where the blogger with the most readers to set up an account with that code gets a prize. And I *might* be planning on reciprocating with a fabulous prize for YOU if I win. Just sayin’.)
OH, wait. Did I mention there’s also a GIVEAWAY?!
We would like to celebrate the fact that you can now talk to a board certified doctor (on demand!) from the comfort of your own home, thanks to the Doctor On Demand app…. with a great giveaway.
It is open to US residents, 18+ only.
Please use the Giveaway Tools Form below to enter! Good Luck!