This comment by Iltifat Husain MD, Editor of iMedicalApps, has me really confused. Is it possible that there really isn’t a point for a patient to use a service like 3G Doctor in the US unless insurance covers it?
In the UK and Ireland we’re not consistently covered (some will, some might and some won’t) by insurers/employers but a big advantage of the service is that it’s low cost enough (£35 inclusive) that it’s attractive to those who appreciate the convenience of being able to access a Doctors informed advice anytime anywhere without the usual waits, time off, travel to a clinic, etc that they would associate with a consultation with a Doctor.
We’ve also got lots of on the job training that enables us to add value to patients who want to talk about online content (increasingly important when you appreciate the difficulty patients face when they want to discuss something like a YouTube video during an in-person Doctor consultation) or someone else’s health (eg. most people will find it difficult to arrange an appointment with their Doctor to discuss their mothers/partners health).
> There are nearly 30 million people in the US that don’t have health insurance.
> Millions of patients in the US have to make a copay to access the advice of a Doctor even though they have health insurance.
> Not all US Health Insurers reimburse patients for the time they have to take off work and costs (eg. taxi/transit/fuel) they spend when visiting a Doctor (and in addition to this about 14% are self employed)
> The vast majority of patients in the USA can’t interact online with their Doctor.
> The majority of internet users in the USA access healthcare information online but find it difficult/inconvenient/impossible to share this with their Doctor.
> There are billions of $’s worth of vitamins, healthy foods, gym memberships, training gear and accessories, etc bought in the US by consumers aren’t reimbursed for by their health insurers
> 50% of US citizens have a smartphone and of the more than $1 Billion that was spent last year on AppStore content none of it was reimbursed by medical insurers.
> Not all health insurance covers second opinions.
> Not all Doctors provide patients with written documentation of their reported history, consultation and advice.
> There is a growing shortage of primary care Doctors in certain areas of the USA and whilst this isn’t being helped by increasing levels of medical school student debt or career choices (eg. interest levels in specialist careers) it’s increasingly impacting on the ability patients have to access a Doctor.
Am I wrong?
Is there really no point to the advice of a registered Doctor unless it’s covered by a healthcare insurer?