So I’m finally back in my happy place.
This little island called Puerto Rico (it’s surrounded by water apparently). But there’s a problem. My doctor (cardiologist to be specific) is MIA like the other 6% of the population that left after the hurricane and this sedentary, avocado loving black 30something needs his pills! Now I could play the insurance game and go to the ER so that I would be covered down here since
I’m still under my Florida insurance (I told Florida Blue insurance company to go and fuck themselves.. More on that one day).
Now hypertension is not something to be played with, but neither is my time. I tried googling “online prescriptions” and found the root of the worlds drug problem haha.. just kidding but WOW the internet has some shady places. I could call a few friends who are doctors and have them shoot me a prescription but I thought this was an awesome opportunity to take a glimpse into the future of Medicine.
What would Jeorge Jetson Do?
I figured that my awesome insurance company MUST have some type of remote medical assistance in their network (they do not) and there must be some pretty awesome apps out there that support this theory.
After 3 hours of google, reddit and App Store research. I narrowed my research to Doctors on Demand and Amwell.
Both apps are HIPA compliant and were fairly lightweight. The UX for Doctors on Demand was very nice with navigation cards, information and connectivity to your health devices (heart rate / blood pressure monitor in my case). The selection of doctors were fairly minimal yet the wait times were not horrible (5-7 patients ahead of me). The price to see a doctor on DOD was about $95. Not bad for a visit especially knowing that concierge healthcare can be pretty expensive.
Up next was Amwell. Simple is an understatement with this app. Once you open it you are greeted with a list of doctors, their specialities and availability. Tap the doctor, fill out a short form (whats wrong with you, what are you allergic to etc..) and upload attachments if necessary. The price to see a doctor (in Puerto Rico) on this app was $45. Sold.
It must be noted that many insurance companies support Telehealth visits and so your price could be the equivalent of your Co-Pay. At $45 there was little thought to tapping a doctor I felt comfortable talking to and getting my prescription in a minute or two. Or so I thought.
I connected to a wonderful Puerto Rican doctor who was probably in a parking lot running errands (she was in her car) who after brief introductions asked me a series of questions. This wasn’t the pill mill type doc I was expecting. She suggested other medications in conjunction with my request (I uploaded a screen shot of my pharmacy history), gave me nutritional advice and made herself available for follow up visits. This is the future of medicine.
The doctor looked at my heart health history through the app (which connected to my apple HealthKit), commented on my my improvements and told me that I would receive my prescription in an hour or two.
I was skeptical as my debit card did not get charged after the ‘visit’. I figured maybe she forgot to push a button somewhere. There was no communication. I started making arrangements to find a physician at the Ashford Medical center (about 1 mile from my apartment) when I got an alert from my Pharmacies App. My prescription was ready for pickup. I got another alert from the Amwell App, confirming this and also that there were messages to be read in my inbox (it was notes about my visit, recommendations and instructions on sending records of the visit to my cardiologist).
I am thoroughly impressed at this service. I lost zero time in productivity on a busy work day, the doctor was knowledgeable about my situation and was very helpful and patient. There’s no doubt that for general descriptive type visits, I will be taking the Tele Medicine route.