It only took me twenty years, but I finally entered the 21st century last week.
At the end of the year I changed health insurance providers. As a result, I’ve been on a steep learning curve to make sure I understand who the “In Network” - physicians, pharmacies and other providers I can call on are without having to pay “out of network rates” for care.
As I’ve been sorting this out, I came down with my annual head cold that turned into a sinus infection. I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of waking up one morning with a scratchy throat, that leads to congestion, coughing and sneezing over a couple of days.
While ordinarily I would just let things run their course, I started to become concerned when, after a few days I hadn’t started to feel better. Realizing that I was scheduled to travel out of town by plane the following week, I decided to seek medical attention so as to not have to deal with the air pressure issues that can be very painful when one flies with head cold.
So, I placed a call to my health insurance company to make sure I understood what the various options were for me to receive treatment. Here’s what I learned:
I could go to my regular PCP at no charge but would have to find a time that they could see me that fit with my schedule.
I could go to a local Urgent Care facility, and probably get seen quickly but for a significant fee.
Or, the third option was to schedule a Virtual Health Appointment via my insurer’s Anywhere Care app that could be downloaded to my phone.
I opted for virtual appointment using the Anywhere Care app.
After downloading the app to my phone, I registered for the service and within a few minutes was speaking with a nurse via FaceTime who began interviewing me with regard to my symptoms.
In less than 15 minutes she had confirmed my diagnosis, prescribed the treatment regimen that I should follow and electronically sent my antibiotic prescription to my pharmacy which I picked up later that morning.
All this was done while I remained in my office at home and in less time than it would have taken me to drive to my PCP or the local Urgent Care facility and at half the cost.
In short, I saved a little money, but more important than that, I saved a considerable amount of time while having one of the most delightful and memorable customer/patient experiences that I can recall.
While no one ever looks forward to getting sick, when the situation calls for it, I won’t hesitate to use this service again.
Needless to say, I’m grateful for the combination of treatment and technology and how it saved me time. So, here’s to your virtual health!