5 Expert Tips for Using Digital Health Apps When You Can’t See a Doc
Heading off to college is super exciting, but moving far away from wherever you grew up can also cause some serious back-to-school stress. Among saying goodbye to your best friends (nooo!), learning how to be in a temporary long-distance relationship with your S.O. and plotting out your future career path, you also have to scout out new fave spots and resources that’ll become a part of your daily life. Since finding a new doc might be the toughest of them all, we chatted with Dr. Michael Warner, the chief medical officer at Ask the Doctor. He gave us the 411 on *exactly* how to use digital health platforms, which let you talk, text, message or video chat with a healthcare professional, to access medical care while you’re away at school. Though digital resources won’t replace an IRL physician, Dr. Warner’s list of dos and don’ts will definitely be useful as you search for a new doctor, or during times you have a pesky ailment and just can’t miss class.
1. DO use digital health resources during off hours. Dr. Warner tells us, “One of the best things about professional digital health resources is that they’re available after-hours and on weekends, when your only other alternative is to consult ‘Dr. Google’ — or wait in the emergency room for a condition that’s not a true emergency.” Some digital health resources are even available 24/7/365. Just as awesome, many digital health resources offer mobile apps in addition to an online experience. All you need to do is pull out your phone.
2. DO use digital health resources when you want anonymity. Many digital platforms make it easy for you to remain anonymous when seeking medical advice. This differs from what might happen IRL, like seeing classmates or friends in the waiting room. Dr. Warner says, “Digital health platforms will also typically create a permanent digital record of your patient/physician interaction. You can share this with your in-person doctor or a physician you see in person later if you need to.” That’s easy.
3. DON’T use a digital health resource for an emergency or long-term care. Dr. Warner advises, “Digital health resources are NOT designed to provide emergency care. In an emergency situation, it’s always best to call an ambulance or go to the hospital.” He also says that you should think strongly about using your own physician if you have a complex medical condition, since digital health care providers aren’t designed to provide long-term, continuous care. “They’re better for providing care when unexpected conditions arise that are inconvenient, but not too serious,” he says.
4. DON’T use digital health resources for general medical info or curiosity Qs. Though it’s common for students to want to communicate with a doctor just to have a question answered, it’s a good idea to identify your specific needs BEFORE you use a digital health resource. Dr. Warner suggests, “For general medical information or questions asked out of curiosity (like, ‘how does the heart work?’ or ‘how do you contract pneumonia?’), I recommend Google searches, Wikipedia and WebMD.” He tells us that if your need is more specific and you have medical history or symptoms to share, a digital health resource will be much more help to you.
5. DO use digital health resources for specific needs. On the flip side, customized help is *exactly* when digital health resources can be the best thing since sliced bread. Dr. Warner agrees and notes, “It’s true. For customized medical advice or counseling (‘My doctor prescribed a medication and I don’t understand all the potential side effects; can you explain them?’ or ‘I received the following blood test results, are any of them abnormal?’), a digital health resource is exactly what you need.
Since there are a ton of different digital health apps and resources out there nowadays, do a quick search to figure out which one will meet your needs and budget. You might find that Ask The Doctor is best, with its constant availability, or that an app like Maven, which caters specifically to women, is a better fit. A few other companies (among many) to check out are HealthTap, Breakthrough and Doctor on Demand. Dr. Warner says, “Most digital health platforms are relatively inexpensive to use, so another benefit is the cost relative to that of insurance deductibles or of missing class or work to sit in a waiting room.” Sign us up.
Have you used a digital health platform instead of visiting the doc IRL? Tell us if it helped solve the problem on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.