Children, Health, Parenthood

Virtual Healthcare- Is It Right For You?

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***This is a review based solely on my personal experience as a mother, not a healthcare professional.  The decision we made as a family was the right choice considering our son’s non-emergency medical circumstances. 

Here it is,  another Saturday evening at home, but instead of enjoying family time, you are caring for your child who has been vomiting off and on all day, unable to keep a single thing down…not even water or crackers. He’s pitifully laying on the couch while you are running around doing any and everything to keep him as comfortable as possible.  The pediatrician’s office isn’t open on the weekend, and the local urgent care facility closed at 6:00.  Oh, and did I mention that it is also a holiday weekend? That means no calling the doctor on Monday either. What’s a mom to do?

Play the Waiting Game

Well, you have a few options. First of all you can wait it out and see how things go. If you know whatever it is that’s going on with your little one and are sure that it will just have to run its course, a couple of days sipping fluids, watching favorite kid shows on Amazon Prime Video or Netflix, and getting a few extra snuggles may be all it takes to get well.

Head to the Emergency Room

Sometimes it’s better to play it safe.  If you know that your child may be in need of more serious care and you are unable to contact an after hours physician or get to an urgent care facility, it may be time to consider heading to the ER.  You may have a longer wait and have to fill out additional paperwork, but it could honestly be worth the peace of mind.

Leave the house prepared though. In this instance, it is a good idea to bring a change of clothes, pull ups, and a “barf bucket” in case your child is unable to make it to the restroom in time. If you are a single parent and you have other children, consider making additional childcare arrangements  if at all possible. It’s not necessary, but  it will be nice to be able to focus solely on caring for your sick child. Hospital ER waiting areas are also quite germy. You might end up bringing home more than a prescription, if you catch my drift.

consider Virtual Healthcare

Up until recently, the above two choices would have pretty much been your only options for healthcare during a long holiday weekend.  Now, however, there are  services that offer inexpensive  healthcare via phone and video chat. This year our insurance has partnered with one called MD Live. For this reason, when our son got sick Memorial Day weekend, we decided to give them a try for the first time.

As a part of our insurance coverage, we pay a $30 copay, to have a consultation with a board certified doctor through MDLIVE.  I could have asked for a video chat, but I opted to speak with the doctor over the phone. After downloading the app, I provided a little bit of information (I had already created profiles for each family member at the beginning of the year) and chose how I wanted to be contacted.

Within 20-30 minutes, a pediatrician called me to discuss what was going on with our son. The doctor I spoke with said that he was prescribing the same thing that most likely would have been administered in the ER to prevent dehydration if we had taken him there. A little later on I received a message in the app saying that a prescription had been called in to our pharmacy. FYI, make sure that the pharmacy you have on file with them is a 24 hour one if at all possible.  I had to call the customer service number and ask if my son’s prescription could be forwarded to a 24 hour pharmacy nearby instead. The customer service representative assured me that it would be no problem and someone would call me soon. Within 15 minutes I received a call saying the prescription had been transferred to my new preferred location.

A Happy Healthier Ending

As I disclosed above, this is a review based solely on my personal experience as a mother, not a healthcare professional, and the decision we made as a family was the right choice  for US considering our son’s circumstances. He was not in need of emergency medical care. Your situation may be different and require more in depth medical attention.

It honestly was a very uncomplicated process that worked well for our family in this instance. We were able to consult with a doctor without taking a trip to the ER, Big Brother ended up not even needing the medication, but we had the peace of mind knowing that it was there just in case.  Not bad for $30 and being able to keep our sick little boy at home. The next day, my little smarty pants was bright eyed, tummy trouble free, asking for his SmartyPants Kids Complete Gummy Vitamins and back into mischief…everything you would expect from a healthy 5 year old boy.

So, will I use this service again? Absolutely. If the need ever arises, I will definitely consider using MDLIVE.

Do you have an experience to share regarding virtual healthcare? Feel free to share by commenting below.

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