Here’s What Happened My First Time Using Telehealth (As A Person Who Hates The Doctor’s Office)

Life at home

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Raising a special needs child keeps me on my toes, and in-person doctor visits make all the difference in the world for me, because kids don’t come with a manual, and sometimes the only reason parents don’t go absolutely crazy is a combination of grandma and the after-hours nurse helpline.

But when I’m the patient, I’m pretty familiar with my usual slate of problems; a sinus infection here, a UTI there, at a certain age you really start to feel like you know your own body, and having to make an appointment, book childcare, and sit in a waiting room all to pick up the same antibiotics I’ve needed every springtime for the past five years? A waste of time, a bureaucratic nightmare, and an extra chance to be exposed to whatever illnesses are going around besides the one I’ve already got. And that was all before Covid-19 added yet another layer of risk to the whole business.

Minimizing my family’s exposure to other people has been a priority during this pandemic, and between the doctors, nurses, support staff, other patients both before and after me, that exposure level really started to add up. Luckily, my insurance covers Teladoc services with a very reasonable co-pay; and it’s a co-pay I’ve never had “adjusted” after my visit was completed. I downloaded an app, chose to receive a call rather than video chat– no reason to assume the doc really had to see my snot to believe me about my sinus infection, but if I needed to discuss a rash, or get an expert eye to follow up on how something was healing, the video option seems like it would be a fantastic tool.

A short conversation later, the doctor agreed with my assessment of my symptoms and a prescription was on its way– as part of the app sign-up I had already selected the pharmacy I would like to pick it up from, and in about an hour I got my call that it was ready. The entire process of downloading the app, inputting my insurance and pharmacy info, scheduling the call, and speaking with the doctor only took about 40 minutes, which is less time than I would have usually spent just sitting in the waiting room at my regular doctor’s office, all with zero hassle and fantastic service. Sure, I may have gotten the visit for free at my regular doc, but with clear and transparent pricing, the $45 I paid to get the issue resolved the same day was well worth it.

I’m someone who avoids going to the doctor whenever possible; I get my flu shots at the grocery store. Between the cost and inconvenience, it’s always been stressful, and I spend enough time taking my kiddo to his own appointments that I will latch on to any excuse to put off my own care, but long-distance medicine may be just the prompting I needed to start having more regular appointments.

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