There was no reason for me to call for an appointment, wait on hold, rearrange my day, get in my car, drive to the clinic, stand in line, hand them my insurance card again, go to a waiting room, flip through an outdated magazine covered with germs, wait for my formal name to be called, go to another room, have the nurse take my blood pressure, answer questions about why I am there, sit in the ‘patient’ chair which makes me feel like a grade-schooler, look forlornly at the door as it closes to wait for the doctor who will be ‘right in’ ( that’s NEVER true!), kick myself for leaving that ratty magazine in the lobby because I was in the middle of a riveting article about something unimportant, pull out my phone to flip through Facebook, sit up a bit straighter as the doctor enters the room, answer the same questions the nurse asked, sit up on the exam table on that crinkly white paper which makes me want to draw a great big mural with coloring crayons, oh, . . . back to the office visit, have the doctor take a look at my ailment and break any rules of personal space I am feeling comfortable in, button back up, sit back in the grade-school chair to hear a diagnosis. Next comes the plethora of drugs that can take care of my ailment regardless of how minor it is, sensing the dread of not filling that prescription, driving to the drug store (the good news is that they’re on every corner and you can pick up your order like a Big Mac), get back to my life and catch up with all I’ve missed while I was away. This whole thing can take hours.
The virtual doctor took about 15 minutes. Amazing.
Last week I experienced some annoying physical symptoms. They weren’t enough for me to visit the doctor but the information I found on the internet scared me enough that I thought I should see one.
First - Find the Website
Our company insurance plan offers virtual office visits. Because I'm the Owner who makes health insurance decisions, I thought it would be a good idea for me to experience the new virtual world of medicine. With a little bit of searching, I found the website and created a profile. It led me through a series of questions starting with, ‘what do you think you have?’ I loved that! It appeared that the questions progressed based on the previous answer. I uploaded a few pictures. Cool beans.
Next – Wait for a Phone call
Within 45 minutes, I had a call from a nurse practitioner. We discussed her initial diagnosis and options for treatment. In addition, she emailed me the treatment plan including what to expect, and what to watch out for. This was perfect so I could go back to it when I forgot the details – does that happen to anyone else? This was all done from the comfort of my own home. It felt so accurate and professional with little blue links to important information and a picture of the nice nurse practitioner I spoke to on the phone.
4 days after my virtual visit, I received another email titled 'How Are You Feeling?' with a friendly note of 'We hope you're starting to feel better'. Although I knew it was just a form letter spit out by a big computer server, I felt comfort that I was in the system and hadn’t been forgotten by an overworked health care provider. Attached was the same treatment plan along with a big ‘Request a Callback’ button to push if I needed an updated plan for free. The form letter was signed ‘Be Well’ along with a link to share my experience on Facebook or Twitter.
Some of you may get this Seinfeld reference – Worlds Colliding!