Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

App Chat: How to see a doctor from your couch

by Jacob Margolis | Take Two

Sickweather App. Sickweather

You'd think that since summer is almost here you would have left the sniffles behind by now.

Wrong. I too am still feeling sick, and while sitting at home coughing and sniffling, I started to sift through health apps to see if technology could help assuage my suffering (read: overdramatic).

That's what we have for you this week on App Chat. Health apps that'll let you see a doctor from your couch, help you navigate the healthcare system, track where other sick people are and one that'll hopefully help you sleep a bit better.

1) Sickweather: If you want to track where all of the sick people around you are located.

This app takes location information from tweets and Facebook posts around you that are related to people who are sick. So, if someone is sick down the street from you and they tweet about it, it'll show up on the phone app. Just check out the picture in the slideshow above. There are too many sick people in Los Angeles. Who knows which one of you infected me... or who I infected (sorry).

2) Doctor on Demand: If you get sick and you don't want to leave the house for treatment.

I was laying on my sofa in my home, deciding whether to visit the hospital or not, because of my symptoms and I figured that there must be a more efficient way to have a doctor assuage my medical concerns. That's what this app does. For $40 you get to chat for 15 minutes with a doctor via video chat. You tell the doctor your symptoms, they diagnose you and if they feel like you need it, will write a prescription for you. 

Since (at least on my health plan) my co-pay costs about $20 for a visit, and the urgent care room is usually packed, this was much more convenient and worth the extra $20. 

My doctor was nice and helpful, but if I had more serious symptoms, I'd probably head to the hospital for a hands on experience. And if the doctor on call feels like that's what you need to do, they'll recommend that as well.

3) Better: If you need help navigating the healthcare system, booking appointments and diagnosing symptoms.

This is a sort of health super app, and for $50 a month, it should be. It's backed by the Mayo Clinic and it promises three big things:

  1. It'll connect you with a nurse who can advise you on a health issue and whether you need to go to the hospital.
  2. It'll connect you with a health assistant who will make doctors/specialist appointments for you, advocate on your behalf with insurance companies and tell you how to get the most out of your insurance. The company says that it complies with HIPAA privacy standards.
  3. It will keep track of your medical records and send you information and advice regarding the treatment of chronic ailments.

4) Noisili: When you need something more versatile than a white noise machine.

The app offers a set of different sounds, like crackling fire, thunder, rain drops, a train going over railroad tracks and white noise. And you can mix together the sounds to create relaxing soundscapes. Maybe some that'll help you sleep better? It's also just kind of fun to play with.

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