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In-Person Consult No Longer Necessary For Online Doctor "Visit"

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The idea of seeing a doctor online isn't new.

But in Texas patients were required to make at least one visit to the doctor's office before they could.

As of today though, that has changed -- making your family's health care easier and making available. Any person in Texas can consult with a doctor online without stepping into a doctor's office even once.

  • How It Works

Doctor Jeff Livingston with the HealthTap network is in his examination room. But his next patient is someone he's never met reaching out online through his smart phone.

"This could be a patient anywhere in Texas who's seeking health care right now," Livingston said looking at the message on his phone.

Until June first, Texas required you visit a doctor's office before a doctor could give you advice online.

"So, I was limited to patients I already knew from my office here," Livingston said. "Today that opens up. So all Texans have access to virtual care."

Using an app or a website from online doctor networks like HealthTap someone can go online and ask for help.

"So this pops up on my screen notifying me there is a patient in Texas seeking care," said Livingston pointing to a message notification on his phone.

And the doctor can help a new patient without them ever stepping foot in his office.

"There isn't such a distinction between a live visit and a virtual visit," he said about the change in the law. "What the law is saying is that they're both visits and they're both health care."

"If I can see you and we can chat, whether that is in person or via a webcam, I think I'm able to make appropriate medical decisions. Some things I can't handle virtually, but many things I can," Livingston said.

Livingston used the service himself when his daughter was ill. He realizes virtual access not only opens the door to people who don't have access to doctors, it saves time for busy parents.

"I spent 15 minutes getting my daughter's medical needs taken care of instead of spending a couple of hours in an urgent care center," Livingston said.

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