Doctor on demand: Virtual treatment for illness - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Doctor on demand: Virtual treatment for illness

(PHOTO: FOX19/ Ben Katko) (PHOTO: FOX19/ Ben Katko)
FOX19 -

The flu is running wild this year with cases spreading through more than 40 states, keeping doctor's waiting rooms packed.

That's where your smartphone or tablet could come in handy. With technology, you can get anything you want in an instant, including your healthcare.

You're probably hearing plenty of coughing and sneezing in your school or workplace this time of year thanks to sicknesses running rampant, especially the flu.

"People who get vaccinated and exposed to the drifted strain, hopefully will not be as ill and hopefully will get over their illness a little more quickly,” said Susan Rehm, M.D. of the Cleveland Clinic.

But a lot of those cases will inevitably end up in a visit with a doctor.

"Today alone we'll probably treat, across the country, 1,000 patients - several hundred with the flu,” said Dr. Pat Basu, Chief Medical Officer of Doctor on Demand.

The difference in those treatments? Those patients were all treated with a $40 digital visit to a doctor.

"You can think of it as an urgent care or a doctor's office on your phone, or tablet or computer. Literally, our average wait time is two minutes,” said Basu.

Doctor on Demand, an online service available in 47 states, has been around for about two years. You'll be matched up with a doc in your state who's been screened and credentialed, who can diagnose and prescribe you certain meds. The doctors will not prescribe narcotics or pain medications that are designated as a controlled substance.

"You could call us, we would diagnose you, take care of you, get you a prescription for, let's say, Tamiflu, as soon as we're done,” Basu told FOX19 NOW.

They'll treat your run-of-the-mill sickness, but won't treat serious conditions, like cancer, or something that could require surgery. For that, they'll give you medical advice, and help you get on the road to the proper treatment and seeing a doctor.

"This is the future of healthcare, but as a compliment to your doctor's visit,” Basu said.

Locally, St. Elizabeth offers an eVisit program. You can fill out a survey and answer some questions from anywhere you can get an internet connection. A physician will review your signs and symptoms, and lay out a course of treatment as soon as that same day. Mercy Health is working on a similar pilot program.

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