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Health: New Trend Has People Instantly Seeing A Doctor In The Privacy Of Their Own Home

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- High-tech house calls.  Sick, but can't muster up the energy to leave the house to go see a doctor?  3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on a new trend that has people instantly seeing a doctor in the privacy of their own home.

Eight-year-old Sophia Burghezi, of Philadelphia, loves jolly ranchers.  But one night when she popped the candy into her mouth she accidentally swallowed it whole.

"She was able to breathe, but I was the one panicking, not her," said Gina Burghezi, Sophia's mom.  Instead of heading to a doctor's office to make sure everything was okay, Gina whipped out her smart phone and used the Doctor On Demand app.

Telemedicine is the next wave of medical care.  And there are a variety of apps available, from Doctor On Demand to American Well and MDLIVE, allowing patients to video chat with a doctor immediately over their phone.

"The service reassured me it's fine," said Gina.

Patients who use the Doctor on Demand app pay $40 per visit and are routed to a physician licensed and insured in their state.  Dr. Ian Tong joined the app's network of doctors after seeing barriers to care at his previous job.  He believes he's able to give accurate medical advice over a video chat.

"You can actually get a long way, move yourself a long way to getting 95 percent certainty of what you think that problem is," said Dr. Tong.

Dr. Dan Hyman an Internal Medicine Specialist with Cooper University Health Care says using telemedicine can be good in some instances, but he prefers seeing patients in the office.

"It's a benefit.  It's an interaction that we have with patients that we all value.  Vital signs are very important.  Blood pressure, pulse, temperature," said Dr. Hyman.

Gina loves having the easy access to a doctor over her phone, and has even used it for a medication dosing issue she was having.

"I would use it again in a heartbeat," said Gina.

Twenty-one states require private insurers to cover remote consultations the same way they cover in-person services; however, that is not the case in our area.

You can check with your insurance company to see if they will reimburse you for a video visit.

Doctor On Demand-

American Well-



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