Calling a Doctor On the Go

Katherine knew the symptoms: The cough. The ache. The pressure in her chest.

It was Saturday morning, but there was no time to rest. A mother of five, she had plenty of errands to run during the day, and an important work meeting that night.

“I knew I had bronchitis,” Katherine said. But that wasn’t necessarily the problem. Getting treatment was. “I was trying to figure out how to get to the doctor, and realized I didn’t have time to do that and be at work,” she said.

That’s when she remembered an app from her benefits package. A quick search on her phone in the parking lot of her local grocery store brought it up: Telehealth.

Telehealth, powered by Teladoc, is a service available to members who get health insurance coverage through their employer (commercial members). It connects them to a board-certified physician anytime, anywhere, through their smart-phone or computer. It’s one of an entire set of digital tools available to Tufts Health Plan commercial members.

With Telehealth, members can register with their Tufts Health Plan account, request an appointment, and then video-chat or talk on the phone with a doctor, dermatologist, or therapist.

It’s perfect for members experiencing cold and flu symptoms, allergies, sinus infections, sore throats, and other non-emergency conditions. Skin conditions like possible, infections, psoriasis, or eczema, are also reasons to call.

Telehealth is easy, and a major time-saver. The average response time for a general visit is under 10 minutes, according to Telehealth data.

Members can get a diagnosis and prescription if needed, right on the spot. All without leaving their couch, home, or the supermarket, in Katherine’s case.

“I was literally grocery shopping,” she said, when she got a call from a doctor.

“They talked to me, and diagnosed me over the phone,” she said. It took about 20 minutes. “The speed of the process was amazing.”

By the time Katherine was done, she was able to go next door to pick up her prescription. And by that evening, she made it to work.

“It was a huge godsend for me, and for my employer, too, because I was able to fulfill the responsibility that I had and needed to get done,” she said.

According to Teledoc, 92 percent of cases are resolved in the first call. Costs are the same or similar to a primary care visit, depending on your plan.

“When I see something that works well, I like to share with others,” Katherine said. “That’s just who I am.”

Katherine loved it so much, she told her daughter about it.  A few weekends later, her daughter used the app, too. And it was another success.

To learn more about Telehealth services, and more ways to connect with your benefits, members can visit Tufts Health Plan’s digital tools page.