Jason Rich's Featured App of the Week

Discover Telemedine Apps and the COVID-19 App for Your iPhone

March 31, 2020 Jason R. Rich Season 1 Episode 1
Jason Rich's Featured App of the Week
Discover Telemedine Apps and the COVID-19 App for Your iPhone
Chapters
Jason Rich's Featured App of the Week
Discover Telemedine Apps and the COVID-19 App for Your iPhone
Mar 31, 2020 Season 1 Episode 1
Jason R. Rich

Being able to communicate with a board certified doctor or licensed therapist without leaving your home is more important than ever during this difficult time, since we're required to self-quarantine in order to stay healthy and avoid the Coronavirus pandemic.

This episode of Jason Rich's Featured App of the Week offers information about Apple's new COVID-19 app, as well as a handful of independently operated telemedicine apps that allow you to make virtual face-to-face contact with a doctor or mental health professional whenever you need it - directly from your iPhone.

This episode does NOT offer medical advice. It does, however, offers useful information about iPhone apps that can help you stay mentally and physically healthy.




Show Notes Transcript

Being able to communicate with a board certified doctor or licensed therapist without leaving your home is more important than ever during this difficult time, since we're required to self-quarantine in order to stay healthy and avoid the Coronavirus pandemic.

This episode of Jason Rich's Featured App of the Week offers information about Apple's new COVID-19 app, as well as a handful of independently operated telemedicine apps that allow you to make virtual face-to-face contact with a doctor or mental health professional whenever you need it - directly from your iPhone.

This episode does NOT offer medical advice. It does, however, offers useful information about iPhone apps that can help you stay mentally and physically healthy.




Featured App of the Week - Episode #1

Hi, I’m Jason Rich and welcome to the first episode of the Featured App of the Week podcast. For the past 10 years or so, I have been writing about the Apple iPhone for a wide range of national magazines and popular websites, plus I have written several “how to” books about how to use the iPhone.

When I first decided to launch this podcast, my original goal was to share information about apps that could make using your iPhone more fun, and to introduce listeners like you to new ways they could use their smartphone to enhance their everyday personal and professional lives.

However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic that’s recently spread around the world, I decided to dedicate this first episode of the podcast to talking briefly about several types of apps that can help you stay healthy and better informed in regard to the COVID-19 virus.

As you probably know, the iPhone is an extremely powerful communications tool. Using apps, it can become a productivity, time management, and organizational tool, as well as a device for entertaining you in a variety of ways. Thanks to its Internet connectivity, the smartphone can also easily collect, process, and share information as needed.

In terms of screening yourself for COVID-19 symptoms, in late-March 2020, Apple introduced its Covid-19 app. It’s available for free from the App Store. When you launch the app, you’ll discover this app is designed to be a screening tool – not a Covid-19 test. It’s also design to offer:

Easy-to-understand information about COVID-19, details about what you can do to prevent the virus, and provide information about who should be tested and when.

Apple’s COVID-19 app was developed in conjunction with the CDC, The White House, and FEMA. 

When you first launch the app and tap on the Start Screening button, you’ll be asked if your answering questions about yourself or on behalf of someone else. Tap on the correct response. 

You’ll then be asked a list of multiple choice questions. It’s important to answer each of these questions truthfully for the app’s screening tool to provide you with accurate information and feedback.

Based on the answers you provide, Apple’s COVID-19 app will determine whether or not you should immediately consult with a doctor, visit a hospital, or find a local COVID-19 testing facility. The whole screening process takes just a few minutes.

However, even if you’re feeling healthy and experiencing no COVID-19-related symptoms, I definitely recommend downloading and installing the free COVID-19 app from Apple and reviewing the information it offers within the app’s separate Avoid COVID-19, What You Can Do,  and COVID-19 Testing sections. This app provides timely, accurate, and easy-to-access information that’s updated as new information about the virus is discovered.

As a result of the Corona virus, the majority of us are staying home and potentially working from home, and we have experienced major financial, work-related, personal, andemotional disruptions to our normal everyday lives. Unfortunately, more and more people are experiencing tremendous levels of stress and depression, and potentially medical issues resulting from these issues.

Based on your situation, if you’re unable or unwilling to consult with your own doctor during this time, or you’re concerned about visiting a mental health expert in-person, there are a large number of telemedicine mobile apps available from the App Store that’ll allow you to participate in phone call, video call, or text message-based conversations with a board certified doctor or licensed psychologist, for example. 

Even if your health insurance did not cover the use of telemedicine applications in the past, most have changed their policies, at least during this current COVID-19 pandemic, so be sure to call your insurance company to determine your coverage benefits for using telemedicine apps.

For those who don’t have health insurance or need to pay out-of-pocket to consult with a doctor or psychologist, there are many iPhone telemedicine apps that allow you to do this quickly and relatively affordably. In fact, in a matter of minutes, you can be virtually face-to-face with a medical professional via a telemedicine app on your iPhone.

Based on the app you choose, you can pay a per-call or consultation fee, or subscribe to a service that gives you a pre-determined amount of access to a medical or mental health professional during each weekly or monthly period.

Some telemedicine apps allow you to choose the type of medical specialist you want to be connected with, and offer a variety of options, while others focus on making a specific type of medical professional available to you on-demand, anytime – day or night.

To find a telemedicine app that your health insurance provider supports, launch the App Store on your iPhone, tap on the Search icon displayed in the bottom-right corner of the screen, and within the Search field, type the name of your health insurance provider.

To discover telemedicine apps that allow you to communicate with a doctor or mental health professional by paying out-of-pocket, within the App Store’s Search field, enter the keyword “doctor,” “psychologist,” or “therapy,” for example. You can also enter a keyword, such as “nutritionist,” “women’s health,” or “dietitian,” if you’re looking for specialized advice.

Keep in mind, if you use a telemedicine app to communicate with a licensed and board certified doctor about any medical issue, that doctor can order tests and/or prescribe medications as needed. They can also refer you to local medical specialists to help you obtain an in-person diagnosis or treatment for your ailments, also as needed.

When choosing any of these apps, read the individual app descriptions carefully so you understand the services being offered. Make sure you’ll be able to communicate with medical professionals who are licensed within your own state or country. 

Also pay attention to an app’s star-based ratings and choose an app that has a large number of four and five star reviews. The app’s Average star-based rating is a quick indicator of what other users have thought about the app and the services it provided.

As for how much it costs to communicate with a board certified doctor or a licensed psychologist via an iPhone app, this varies greatly. What you’ll discover is that most of the apps don’t reveal their service’s pricing until after you’ve installed the app and set up a free account to use it. 

One way around this, when applicable, is to visit the website for the app using your smartphone or computer’s web browser. The websites for telemedicine apps are often more forthcoming about fees.

If you’re looking to communicate with a board certified doctor and pay a consultation fee per virtual visit, some of the apps you might want to check out include: 

  • Heal: Telehealth & House Calls
  • Amwell: Doctor Visits 24/7
  • Lemonaid Health: Online Doctor
  • HeyDoctor by GoodRx
  • Doctor On-Demand

The apps that can connect you with a therapist, for example, allow you to choose someone with a specific area of expertise, such as depression and/or anxiety. Since therapy is often provided over multiple visits, many of these apps have weekly or monthly subscriptions that gives you a pre-determined amount of access to your assigned mental health professional.

Some of the therapy-related telemedicine apps you might want to look into via the App Store include: 

  • Talkspace Online Therapy
  • BetterHelp Online Counselors
  • Doctor On-Demand

There are also countless apps available from the App Store that will help you better manage your stress and anxiety on your own. For example, there’s the extremely popular Calm, Youper, and MoodPath apps.

As the COVID-19 virus continues to impact all of our lives, even if you’re not experiencing any medical or mental health issues right now, in addition to Apple’s Covid-19 app, I recommend choosing one or two telemedicine apps you might want to use in the future and installing them right now on your iPhone. 

Set up the free account that the app requires and determine pricing in advance. This way, if you or a loved one suddenly needs medical or mental health advice – whether it’s Covid-19 related or not – you’ll have a way to quickly reach a medical professional without having to leave your home. 

Having the right collection of apps on your iPhone – based on your current or potential health and mental health needs – is just one additional way you can prepare for, and possible help to prevent, any future medical or mental health issues.

Well, that wraps it up for this week’s edition of the Featured App of the Week podcast. In future episodes, my goal is to help you discover new, innovative, and powerful apps that’ll help you get the most out of your iPhone in your own personal and professional life. 

If you found this podcast useful, please share it with your friends, post a review, and be sure to subscribe so you’ll be able to hear all of the latest episodes as they’re published online. 

You can visit my website at www.jasonrich.com or follow me on social media. My username on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn is JasonRich7. That’s J-A-S-O-N-R-I-C-H with the number 7 at the ended. 

Until next time, I’m Jason Rich. Thanks for listening!