When Should You Choose Telemedicine Over Physical Doctor Visits?

Telemedicine is a brand-new initiative redefining the way patients in the U.S. approach health care. It was actually introduced in the 1960s as a way of connecting remotely located patients with medical professionals via phones, and despite not really resembling its former self any longer, the name seems to have stuck. In its modern incarnation, telemedicine is based entirely around digital technology, a field that has witnessed unprecedented development in recent decades. It is now possible to communicate with anyone in the world in a matter of minutes; on top of that, we can now stream our favorite films, television shows, and music instantaneously. Telemedicine provides this same on-demand approach to health care, allowing patients to connect with doctors at their own leisure, and facilitating clinical visits in the comfort of the patient’s own home.

Divan - Doctor at Computer

Telemedicine is a brand-new initiative redefining the way patients in the U.S. approach health care.

There are numerous benefits to telemedicine for both patients and doctors alike. In the first instance, it saves both parties time. Patients no longer have to plan whole days around trips to their doctor’s office; for many people, it takes a lot of effort to visit the doctor, and this problem is only compounded if you happen to live far away from a medical professional. On the flip side, not having to schedule patients for extended visits mean that doctors can see more of them during their working day, as well as saving on costs of admin work. They can also enlist the help of the patient for diagnostic experiments, via the use of particular apps or regular check-ins. This enables doctors to get a broader view of the patient’s symptoms, and also provides peace of mind for the patient; we all know that symptoms never seem to manifest during those 20 minutes we’re inside the doctor’s office!

But that’s not to say that the rise of telemedicine eclipses the need for face-to-face visits with a doctor. Telemedicine is a fantastic tool to be used in conjunction with consultations, particularly at the start of treatment, where patients are mostly concerned with explaining their symptoms to their new doctor. But it is not a replacement for traditional medicine as such. Thus, the question becomes: when exactly should you choose telemedicine over regular doctor visits? This is a crucial question for patients and potential patients to ask themselves, and knowing the correct answer can make all the difference for your medical treatment.

The main advantage of telemedicine, and the one that will likely be the deciding factor of how it’s utilized by individual patients, is its on-demand nature. In this way, it follows in the footsteps of platforms like Netflix and Spotify, which provide the same service for films and music respectively. If you have a pressing or concerning medical problem, telemedicine can help you get a diagnosis quickly; for example, if you have symptoms that come on suddenly and are worrying you, you can easily look to telemedicine in order to receive a fast diagnosis. Obviously, this is not a replacement for the emergency room, and if the symptoms are particularly debilitating, that’s the first place you should head. But telemedicine can be remarkably effective for those symptoms that fall in between – ones that you don’t want to leave any later, but aren’t serious enough to take to the hospital.

Divan - Patient with Flu

If you have a pressing or concerning (but not life-threatening) medical problem, telemedicine can help you get a diagnosis quickly.

Telemedicine can also be useful for a second opinion, or if you don’t have complete faith in your local doctor or physicist. It helps patients branch out and connect with doctors all over the country, or even the world. This means that patients aren’t tied to their local health care provider, and have a number of options available when selecting a specialist from a family doctor referral. This can provide great peace of mind for many patients, regardless of their condition. When it comes to themselves and their families, every person wants the very best health care they can get their hands on.

Another time to use telemedicine over regular doctor visits is when you’re ordering or reordering a prescription of some kind. We all know what a hassle it is to return to the doctor’s office every time a a prescription needs refilling – but with telemedicine, you can avail of some home delivery prescriptions ordered from the comfort of your living room. Providing you suffer from a qualifying condition, sites like MMJ Recs will dispatch a medical marijuana identification card to you, meaning you can utilize the medicine. Emotional support animals are another form of progressive health care sweeping the nation, relieving patients from symptoms of common mental health disorders. To avail of an emotional support animal, you require what’s known as an ESA letter, which you can also procure via telemedicine, on a site like Moosh.

All in all, telemedicine can be a great asset in the field of health care, and the more patients get familiar with it, the more they’ll trust and use it. Hundreds of telemedicine-based apps are available on a range of devices, so if you’re interested in seeing how telemedicine can benefit you, download some and start trying them out today!

Which 5 Free Telemedicine Apps Should Be On Your Phone?

Telemedicine has become extremely popular over the last few years. With the rise of mega-powerful smartphone and mobile device technology, more and more people are opting to save time (and money) by getting their health care needs met remotely, online, using telemedicine.

There is now a plethora of new telemedicine apps clamoring for attention, vying to meet the needs of this relatively new and rapidly expanding market. As a consumer who is new to telemedicine, the sheer volume of choices can be a little bit daunting. So to help you make sense of the deluge, here are five excellent free telemedicine apps that really should be on your phone.


MDLive is a free app that offers its users “Virtual Care, Anywhere,” and it very much does what it says on the tin. MDLive is a one-stop-shop for telemedicine health care, offering 24/7 access to the largest network of fully certified telemedicine doctors, physicians, and specialists available anywhere in cyberspace. MDLive offers fully secure and private consultations with health care professionals on your schedule, any time of the day, night, week, or year. MDLive doctors treat an impressive array of medical conditions ranging from physical health problems such as allergies, ear/nose/throat issues, cough, flu, respiratory problems, UTIs, and vomiting, to mental health problems such as addictions, stress, depression, and panic disorders.

Using MDLive, you will usually be consulting with a physician within 15 minutes. MDLive physicians can prescribe drugs and have the prescription sent to your local pharmacy. MDLive is one of the more reputable free telemedicine apps that is easy, quick, and single-handedly covers a great deal of your telemedicine needs. Available from Google Play and iTunes.

Divan Medical - man with smartphone and computer

With so many free telemedicine apps available, it’s never been easier to carry a doctor in your pocket.


Text4Baby started life as an SMS service that sent helpful text messages to women who were either expecting or in the first year of motherhood. The texts answered their most pressing questions and helped them through the often difficult and confusing process of being a new mother. Now there is a Text4Baby app and it is the ideal accompaniment to the original message service. The app (which is run by the National Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Coalition) is free to download and use and has helped almost one million women through their pregnancy and the crucial first year of motherhood. New moms always have a ton of questions and Text4Baby is a doctor-recommended app that answers literally any question an expectant mom could possibly think of in no time at all.

As well as answering questions, the Text4Baby app also provides reminders of upcoming appointments and meaningful dates, updates on how your baby is growing and developing, and quizzes so you can test and improve your baby knowledge. If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, Text4Baby is one of the free telemedicine apps that should take pride of place on your smartphone. Available from Google Play and iTunes.


Prevention is always better than cure. With that in mind, MyFitnessPal is one of the most important free telemedicine apps on the market right now and should definitely be on the front page of your smartphone. MyFitnessPal is an invaluable tool in your health care toolbox as it allows you to keep track of how you are really living your life day to day.

How many calories are you taking in? What types of foods and drinks are you consuming? How much physical activity are you doing? All of these questions are of crucial importance for your overall health and fitness, and they are all meticulously tracked and monitored by MyFitnessPal. Using MyFitnessPal diligently will enable you to fine-tune your lifestyle for optimal health. Available from Google Play and iTunes.

Divan Medical - woman using smartphone

Whether it’s fitness tracking, baby advice, or a medical consultation, there’s a telemedicine app for you.

LiveHealth Online

LiveHealth Online is a top-notch telemedicine app. It allows you to speak to a certified, US-based health care professional face to face any time of the day or night. Downloading the LiveHealth Online app to your smartphone or mobile device means you can consult with most types of health care professionals (including physicians, doctors, therapists, and dietitians) at any time with zero waiting and no appointment necessary.

Once you download the app and set up an account (both of which are free to do), you can have consultations via live video feed. Consultations typically cost $49 and are often covered by insurance (depending on your plan). If you require a medical prescription, the doctor you consulted with will send the information to your local pharmacy and you can pick it up there. Adding LiveHealth Online to your arsenal of apps could be a genuine life-saver! Available from Google Play and iTunes.


Amwell is a similar app to MDLive and LiveHealth Online. The Healthline website voted it “Best Telemedicine App of 2016” and so, despite its similarity to other apps, it deserves a place on your smartphone (it’s always good to have options, especially when it comes to telemedicine). Amwell allows you to consult with a certified medical practitioner at a time that suits you, day or night.

Costs range from $45 for nutrition counseling, to $200 for an initial online psychiatry consultation, and are often covered by insurance. Amwell doctors can send a drug prescription to any pharmacy for collection. Amwell is one of the top free telemedicine apps, and really should be available on your smartphone for whenever you need it. Available from Google Play and iTunes.

How Smartphone Technology Is Allowing Telemedicine To Advance At A Stunning Rate

Thanks to the telecommunication and information technologies that have been at the forefront of 20th century technological advancement, telemedicine has become an incredibly effective solution to distance barriers, providing people in isolated, rural areas with access to medical services. Communications between patients and medical staff now take place with expedience and high fidelity, and this leads to faster diagnosis and resolution for patients. More recently, with the rapid technological advancement and ubiquity of smartphones (it is estimated that there are around 2.1 billion smartphone users in the world), telemedicine has managed to advance at even more rapid rates. Outlined below are some of the most mind-boggling ways smartphones have facilitated the progress of telemedicine.

Mobile Apps

There is a vast array of health apps currently available for smartphones – many of which are free. Anyone with a smartphone can use apps to monitor sleep patterns, track their weight, use two-way video calls to communicate with medical staff, get medication reminders, and even connect with online support groups.

Remote Monitoring

Some of these telemedicine apps can track and report a patient’s health information to their healthcare provider, so that detailed analysis and diagnosis can be drawn. As smartphones are always at hand, data collected this way tends to be far more accurate than both patients making estimations and medical practitioners tracking for short periods.

Remote monitoring, or self-monitoring, allows medical professionals to monitor a patient remotely using a plethora of technological devices, including smartphones. This is applicable in managing chronic diseases or conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. Remote monitoring often provides similar health outcomes to more conventional, in-person patient encounters, supplies greater satisfaction to patients, takes less time, and tends to be far more cost-effective for both the patient and the medical practitioner.

Divan Medical - X-ray on computer

Medical imaging and telemedicine have paired well together, particularly for stroke patients.

Medical Imaging – Stroke Patients

In 2012, medical images taken on smartphones to evaluate stroke patients in remote locations through telemedicine were proven to be effective. This allows patients to access expert help in a timely fashion when they need it most. If required, patients can be prescribed medications within a short timeframe to proactively minimize serious injury to the brain.

Medical images sent via smartphones have also led to significant cost reductions by making ground or air ambulance transfer of the patient to another medical center unnecessary.

Wound Management

Telemedicine for wound management is conveniently done using a smartphone’s high-quality video camera in conjunction with electronic medical records (to exchange medical information). After receiving wound images, a plan of care is developed that best ensures the patient’s full and speedy recovery. Subsequently, products that will benefit recovery are ordered and delivered. This is all done from the convenience of the patient’s home.

Wound management is particularly interesting because it provides a level of care that often cannot be done in person. Follow-ups on post-surgical visits are far more frequent and continued care for chronic wounds are much more extensive. Furthermore, it means less pain for patients, as they don’t have to travel long distances for care.


Ophthalmology is the branch of science concerned with the study and treatment of diseases and disorders of the human eye. Tele-ophthalmology attempts to digitalize as much of the ophthalmological care as possible and effective. Electronic ophthalmologic records of the patients often include the capturing of images by smartphones. Smartphone cameras are now advanced enough to be able to capture both anterior and posterior segments of the eye to be evaluated by ophthalmologists.

Divan Medical - eye

Tele-ophthalmology is another advancement that’s been made largely due to smartphone technology.

Only if patients require further evaluations will they be referred to experts in the relevant field. Tele-ophthalmology, in conjunction with smartphones, is able to treat diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and retinopathy of prematurity. These are the most common causes of blindness, but smartphones are helping ophthalmologists deal more effectively with these diseases on a mass scale, helping many isolated people get the help they need before it’s too late.

A large number of studies have shown that clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction levels of tele-ophthalmology are similar to the conventional eye care system, while also providing cost-effectiveness.


The tele-dentistry industry has shown the ability to detect occlusal caries (decay on contacting surfaces of teeth) from photographs taken by smartphone cameras with comparable diagnostic results when compared to traditional screening. As tooth decay is linked to many dangerous diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia, this is an important development for many patients.

With the rapid advancement of smartphone technology, telemedicine has become an incredibly exciting space to watch, and one that provides incredible benefit to the many people who would be very poorly served in its absence. But there is clearly lots more work to be done to bridge the gap between medicine and telemedicine, and the power of smartphones will have a large part to play in bridging that gap.

4 Telemedicine Apps You Need If You’re Going Abroad

Telemedicine is currently changing the face of health care across the United States. It started off as a niche service designed to help patients in remote areas receive the care they need. These days, telemedicine is being talked about as the next big initiative in health care. It still retains the basic function of assisting patients in remote areas, but due to its on-demand nature and instantaneous service capabilities, people all across the country (and planet) are seeing its plentiful benefits and advantages. It still utilizes telephones to a degree, but has received a huge thrust due to the rise of digital technologies. These devices form the cornerstone of our modern society, affecting every industry; health care is proving to be no different, with the introduction of things like specialized telemedicine apps.

Any communication with a doctor through a smartphone, laptop, desktop computer, or tablet can be classified as telemedicine. Telemedicine has many benefits, including savings of money and time to both patients and doctor, improved patient monitoring, better implemented resources, instant prescriptions from sites like MMJ Recs and Moosh, access to more personalized care, and the capacity to speak with your doctor instantly, at any time. All these benefits are making telemedicine an increasingly attractive prospect to many people, not just those living in remote areas. When we go on vacation, health care is a primary concern. The idea of being stranded in a foreign country after being stricken down by disease or illness is a sobering one, which is why many people take out travel insurance. But even then, what if you’re in a completely unknown location where no one speaks English and you need to consult with a doctor?

Divan Medical - Doctor at Laptop

It’s reassuring to know you can always access medical care through telemedicine apps when you’re away from home.

Luckily, telemedicine can help you there too. There are many telemedicine apps out there designed to aid people when they’re out and about, and you don’t even have to be in a foreign country, either; if you’re vacationing at home in the States and are out camping somewhere remote, these apps can help you avail of medical care in an instant if you get yourself into trouble. So if you’re planning a vacation somewhere far-flung sometime soon, consider downloading these telemedicine apps to feel completely at ease health-wise while you’re having fun on your break.

1. Doctor on Demand

Doctor on Demand does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a doctor on demand service that lets you see a certified doctor for a video consultation service. The doctor can then write you a prescription (not always necessary if you happen to be abroad at the time), advise you on treatments plans, or respond to non-emergency medical issues. They’re also handy to consult before you go away, as they can refill existing prescriptions or prescribe new medications for your journey and travel. The app utilizes over 1,400 state-licensed physicians from all across the U.S. It’s free, but prices for consultations start at $40 for 25 minutes and $70 for 50 minutes.

2. HealthTap

HealthTap is one of the handiest telemedicine apps around – a virtual doctor’s office that lets you consult with a medical professional and get your questions answered. It’s up to you to choose the best option for the health care you need. Asking questions on the app is free, and it can be a great source of information if you’ve got any niggling worries about a symptom or condition, especially as these kind of worries can intensify when you’re abroad. Live consultations cost $44, so this app is a little more expensive than Doctor on Demand; however, the plus side is that you can invite your own doctors to join HealthTap, and therefore continue to avail of a professional you trust, even when you’re abroad.

Divan Medical - Nurse Smiling

Traveling? No problem! There are plenty of virtual ways to obtain medical advice now that telemedicine is advancing in the U.S.

3. Microsoft Health Vault

Microsoft Health Vault is a free online service where you can keep your health and medical records safe and to hand if and when you need them quickly. You can then share them with health care professionals from the app. This is a huge benefit when going on vacation, as you might just find yourself in a situation where you medical records are needed, because you’re dealing with a foreign doctor or team who have never treated you before. All the key data relating to your health can be inputted and kept secure, either manually or via upload from other telemedicinal devices.

4. Text4Baby

Traveling abroad when you’re pregnant can be quite an intimidating proposition, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. Luckily, mothers-to-be and brand new mothers can avail of one of the most useful telemedicine apps around, Text4Baby, to ease any and all fears they might have. The service is run by the National Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Coalition, and uses good ol’-fashioned text messages so that one size fits all when it comes to phone type. Users remain anonymous; all you need to input is your due date and your ZIP code. You can then avail of a stream of informative, reassuring text messages that are sent in relation to your due date. This handy service is free, and it also doesn’t cost anything to receive the messages. If you’re afraid you’re going to miss something while you’re abroad with your new baby or pregnant, Text4Baby can help allay your fears.

5 Telemedicine Apps You Need On Your Phone

Telemedicine – and in particular, telemedicine apps – is currently a hot topic in the field of smartphones. Digital technology has allowed this once-outlier treatment plan to enter the mainstream, and it’s growing exponentially month to month. People all over the U.S. are benefitting from digital access to clinical consultations with their doctors; the telemedicine movement is bringing equal opportunity health care to all areas of the county, including those rural regions which were previously neglected or didn’t have convenient access to primary care physicians or specialists.

Much of the telemedicine revolution has been spearheaded by the continuing development of the smartphone, which has gone from strength to strength in the last decade. Much of our lives are now channeled through our phones, specifically apps, and telemedicine is no different. Telemedicine apps are key to changing the health care landscape for all Americans, providing cheaper and better quality access to treatments and medicine. But there are a lot of apps out there; the name of the game when it comes to app development is competition, and the health care sector is no different. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of five telemedicine apps that you definitely need on your phone!


MDLIVE is the perfect example of smartphone telemedicine in action. It provides a 24-hour communication line to doctors, which means you can avail of instantaneous medical advice; you can connect with a doctor in about fifteen minutes or less. You can seek treatment for all types of conditions, from physical afflictions to mental disabilities. Wherever you are in the world, as long as you have your phone with you, you’re able to get certified medical advice in no time at all.

Divan Medical - woman using phone

If you have a smartphone – and who doesn’t these days? – all the benefits of telemedicine are available to you.


While MDLIVE is perfect for broad medical advice on a range of subjects, PingMD is perfect for firing off concerns to your doctor and keeping a medical record of your chronic conditions. You can send text, pictures, or videos to your doctor, who then respond directly or forward your concern onto a colleague or someone else who’s informed in their network. Every “ping” you send to your doctor is logged in your digital medical record, which makes it extremely easy for medical staff to check up on your specific condition to date, and see if it’s something that can be handled over telemedicine communications, or if you need to come in for a visit. Also, PingMD is free for patients, and currently has over 10,000 doctors availing of its service on the other side of the table.


HelloMD‘s focus isn’t on immediate care; instead it endeavors to find you the perfect specialist for your specific condition. It’s the perfect app for tracking down the ideal specialist for your extremely specific condition, or one that requires a niche point of view. Although HelloMD isn’t an instantaneous as some other telemedicine services, it’s usually possible to get an appointment within 24 hours. This appointment can also be facilitated through telemedicine, which speaks to one of the major positives of the service; access to some of the best specialists the country has to offer, without the usual wait times or travel issues. Appointments with specialists are notoriously slow to set up, but with telemedicine, it can be a timely, painless process. You can also utilise HelloMD for second opinions from previous appointments. The app itself is free, but doctors will set their own rates, dependent on their consultation. You can hook your credit card up to it and pay via that for each meeting.

Divan Medical - Stethoscope

With so many useful telemedicine apps available, the face of health care in the U.S. is being revolutionized for the better.


HealthTap is the perfect app to answer any confounding questions you might have about a very specific problem. It’s an app that gives you access to a database of over 50,000 doctors and dentists from across the world for peer-checked responses for a whole variety of medical queries. Google searching symptoms is never a good idea, as the overload of information available online can lead to added stress and anxiety; very few of the opinions out there on the internet are informed, and uninformed diagnoses can be very dangerous indeed. Googling your symptoms will become a thing of the past with HealthTap. You can have a whole wealth of certified knowledge at your fingertips, 24 hours a day.


Telemedicine is excellent for prescribing online medication. Sites like MMJ Recs and Moosh are able to prescribe therapeutic, progressive new medicine like medical marijuana and emotional support animals over the internet with little or no hassle to the patient. Pillpack does the same thing; it’s a prescription-by-mail service that puts your medication into time and date-stamped packs that tell you the order in which you should take them. It also aligns with your health care provider to ensure your prescriptions are automatically renewed a month before your prescription runs out. The only additional charge to the usual price of medication is the shipping fee.

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