I recently used VideoMedicine for the first time. I needed a second opinion on a non-urgent sports injury, but I didn’t know how to get one without money, a car, or existing relationships with nearby physicians. In less than an hour, VideoMedicine connected me to a specialist who provided sound advice.
Here are some tips for patients using VideoMedicine based on my experience:
Decide what you’re going to tell the physician ahead of time, so you don’t exceed your budget or run out of time. For quick reference during the call, you might want to write down talking points. You probably want to include:
- What your symptoms are
- Type and intensity of pain
- When symptoms began, or when you first noticed them
- If applicable, what the symptoms look like (This step includes taking pictures of injured area, which you should do ahead of time)
2. Utilize the filter:
Scroll through physicians to see your options based on specialty, rate, and online status. Know your priorities so you can more easily narrow down your list of physician options. I prioritized specialty instead of online status because I needed advice on a painless sports injury, which made it specific but not urgent.
I set the filter to physicians specializing in sports medicine with rates within my budget. I decided to contact Doctor Robert Reiss, who is Board Certified in internal medicine and sports medicine, as well as an athlete and runner himself. Dr. Reiss has notable experience treating sports injuries, including serving as consultant for the San Francisco Giants and the Association of Volleyball Professionals, as well as team physician for the University of Southern California and Long Beach Ice Dogs hockey team.
3. Add extra funds:
Once you’ve chosen a physician and set an appointment, add funds to your account. Add extra funds in case the conversation is longer than expected.
4. Prevent unnecessary disruptions:
Find a private area with minimal noise, good lighting, and strong cell reception.
5. Use the Conversation feature:
The Conversation feature can be useful in coordinating the call with the physician.
6. Remember: only use VideoMedicine in non-emergency situations.
Here’s what Dr. Robert Reiss said about his first call:
Q: Why did you join VM?
RR: I don't recall how I was approached but it seemed like it would be fun. I love talking to people and if I could be of help to another human being all the better. I am getting close to retirement and I thought if this could build up I could step away from my practice but still get the great feelings I get from being a doctor but not have to leave my sofa.
Q: How was your first experience?
RR: The one call I had was fun. I spoke to the patient and I think I gave her some sound advice about her problem. We chatted a bit about her running. At the end of the call I discounted the fee (apparently patients are not aware that the doctor can do this) for some of the time was used to get to know the person rather than truly deal with her problem. Overall I enjoyed the experience and would like to continue.
Q: What did you dislike?
RR: Most of medical diagnosis is made with history but I still think physical exam is a large part of the process. I think I could have been more definitive in my diagnosis had I been able to examine the patient.
Q: What did you like about it?
RR: It was fun to get to meet a new person. Helping people is what medicine is all about and I think I might have helped this patient.
From a patient perspective, my VideoMedicine experience was successful. The process took less than 30 minutes, including call and pre-call planning. There were no unmanageable or unexpected costs, and I received sound medical advice and care plan recommendations.
It’s important to be able to determine when in-person medical care is needed, such as in medical emergencies. In non-emergency situations, like mine, VideoMedicine proved to be a reliable option.