I’m Cheating on My Doc with Amwell

Attention time-strapped mothers, let me tell you how I saved an hour and a half yesterday and got something done at the same time. Have you guys heard about Amwell? Amwell is an app that allows you to video chat with an actual MD from anywhere. Scheduling, waiting and debating about a doctor visit are all out the window. Amwell provided all our November box subscribers with a free “visit” and I knew this week was the perfect chance to try it out.

amwell review
photos by by  Ainsley Anderson

photos by by Ainsley Anderson

Let me start by saying I recently moved and don’t yet have a new family physician. A few weeks ago I came down with what I was pretty sure was strep. After two miserable days, my equally miserable husband talked me into calling around to find a doctor. I spent 30 minutes navigating my insurance company’s website to find nearby providers, then called four trying to get an appointment. None would get me in that week since I was a new patient. NONE! I was so desperate I ended up going to urgent care, waiting for over an hour and plunking down $55 to be treated (it was indeed strep).

Now here we are a few weeks later and I could feel the telltale signs of a whopper cold sore brewing at the corner of my lip. I promise I’m actually a pretty healthy person but the combo of the Born for This box launch + Halloween did me in.

Enter Amwell. Here’s how it works:

  • Download from app store and go through the sign up process.

  • Sync your health information. I didn’t do this because I was anxious to talk to a doctor but later wished I had. I’ll definitely do it next time so the doctor can see my medications, concerns, etc.

  • Select a provider – two were available to talk to me right away. The app also let me select a pharmacy in my zip code.

The next part was what took actual work on my end. I went through a medical history checklist, then several screens of entering my insurance info. Although it’s a bit tedious, it’s the same process I’d go through in my doctor’s office and I appreciated that the Amwell doctor reviewed my information before she spoke with me. So maybe I should just quit whining. After I entered my insurance information, my visit was discounted from $49 to $9 (my plan doesn’t have copays), which was far less than I paid for urgent care.

The app connected me with a doctor who was in California but was licensed in Arizona where I am. We talked for a few minutes, went over my concerns, I held the phone awkwardly up to my lip so she could see the sore…..you get the idea. By the time the ten-minute conversation was over, she had sent my prescription to my pharmacy and I was back to my to-do list.

From start to finish, the registration and call took me a total of 20 minutes. Roughly the same amount of time I would have sat on hold to make an appointment with a family physician. Kidding (sort of.)

In short, there are a few hoops to jump through the first time around but after that, I can’t imagine the process being any easier. I estimated that it saved me about 90 minutes overall and all the hassle of fitting in a doctor visit into our day. I can see my Amwell being a lifesaver for my family when we travel too.

Have you ever tried telemedicine? What do you think of online health care?