When Eileen Quist’s 11-year-old son, Kolby, came down with a fever, inner ear pain and a sore throat, she knew he needed to see a doctor. But at the end of a long workday, she thought she’d try a video visit service she’d recently heard about that connects people with board-certified physicians via smartphone, laptop or tablet.
Within minutes, she had a diagnosis for her son and a prescription ordered.
“When I did it, I thought, everybody has to do this,” she said.
She’s one of a growing number of women who are discovering the convenience of reaching a physician anytime, anywhere. Busy professionals, working moms and even those who just prefer a pair of flannel pajamas are signing up and getting seen. Through a camera-equipped mobile device, Doctor On Demand offers an affordable alternative to an urgent care or hospital emergency room.
Quist, an SCL Health associate, heard about the service through her employer, which recently formed a partnership with Doctor On Demand. As her son has a tendency to get ear infections, and with the fever and sore throat on top of it, she didn’t want to wait until the next day to take him to their family medicine practitioner.
“I put my sweats on, I sat down at the kitchen table with him … from the time I signed in until the end of my visit was roughly 15 minutes, and it took only one minute to start my appointment,” she said.
After registering for the service, she uploaded photos of Kolby’s ears and throat and filled out all of the requested information online. “Even doing all of that, it took me maybe three minutes to get through all of it – not like sitting at a doctor’s office being handed a packet of papers to fill out,” she said.
Doctor On Demand connected Quist with Dr. Holly Burggraf, who asked Quist to bring the camera and light closer to Kolby’s ears and throat so she could take a deeper look.
“It was just like I had walked into a treatment room. He liked that he was able to sit there in his blanket; he felt very comfortable with it. He thought it was even better than going to the doctor’s office because he has a horrible gag reflex and she didn’t have to stick that thing in his throat,” Quist chuckled. “He even said that when we finished, he said he liked her and can we go see her.”
Other women have used it right at work, wondering if that nagging sore throat is a sign to go home or something to shrug off.
For Quist, the experience couldn’t have gone more smoothly, from Dr. Burggraf diagnosing Kolby’s ailments, to faxing the prescription to her pharmacy, to Dr. Burggraf emailing the details of the visit to Kolby’s SCL Physician primary care doctor. She also wrote a doctor’s note for the sixth-grader having to miss school.
“Dr. Burggraf was wonderful. She spoke with me briefly, then put all the attention on my kiddo,” Quist said. “Kolby liked that she made huge efforts to connect with him, and she was very compassionate with him.”
Doctor On Demand physicians are licensed to provide care in your state. Each visit is just $40, significantly less for most individuals than the copay for a typical urgent care or emergency room visit. To get started, visit www.sclhealth.org/doctorondemand or access the Doctor On Demand app via Apple Store or Google Play on your camera-equipped mobile device. If prompted for a referral code from your healthcare provider, please enter “SCLHealth.” If you have questions about the app, call the Doctor On Demand customer service team at 1-800-997-6196.
Quist completed a survey following the appointment and received a personal thank you email from Dr. Burggraf the next day.
“It’s a huge time saver. It took minimal effort to be seen and take control of his healthcare issues,” she said. “I think it’s amazing. I would certainly go back in a heartbeat.”
Dr. Burggraf, who earned her medical degree in Colorado and is now based in Arizona, did medical school rotations at Saint Joseph Hospital and also has worked at Lutheran and Good Samaritan medical centers.
“SCL Health has been a wonderful group of people to work with, and I feel like I am back home when seeing them,” she said. “(Doctor On Demand) is a fantastic way to help people outside of the confines of the traditional office setting.”
Doctor On Demand treats many common non-emergency medical issues, including: Acne, Allergies, Asthma, Bronchitis, Cold and Flu, Constipation, Diarrhea, Ear Infection, Fever, Headache, Insect Bites, Joint Pain, Nausea, Rashes, Sinus Infection, Sore Throat, UTI.