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)
Your relationship with your finances is one of the most important relationships you'll ever have, and you can't avoid it. That said, for many of us, the pandemic only added to our financial stress. If you find yourself feeling frazzled, just remember that financial insecurity isn't a net-worth issue — it's a mindset issue. And, we happen to have plenty of advice on how to turn your money mindset around so you can take charge of your funds once and for all.
To start, feeling secure begins with a strong foundation, and there's no better time than now to get started stacking the bricks. It's easy to get swept up in the January "new year, new me" mentality, but really? Any time is the right time to get yourself in order. You don't need to wait for a new year, a new moon, the right moment, or a sign from above. You don't even have to start on the first day of the month — you just need to start.
Introducing NerdWallet: A Safe and Reliable Money App
To help with that, we've put together a list of the just-right-for-you ways that NerdWallet can help you monitor your financial outlook. Haven't heard of them yet? NerdWallet is a personal finance company that helps consumers make smarter financial decisions. Their website and app let you compare different financial products, find articles and tools to make financial decisions with confidence, and keep tabs on your finances (hey there, credit score, I see you!) all in one place. Plus, NerdWallet has over 75,000 glowing reviews in the App Store (and a 4.8 star rating) if you want to read up on any more testimonials.
Tim Chen, NerdWallet's CEO and co-founder, started this financial journey in 2009 after his sister needed help finding a credit card. Even with an economics degree and a Wall Street background, it took awhile for Tim to find the right recommendation (so don't feel too bad when it takes you a while, too). Their mission is to bring clarity to all of life's financial decisions.
So it's safe to say that NerdWallet is a pretty good sherpa for your journey, too.
Get the most from your money
Did you know that the money you park in a savings account can lose value? Harsh, but true. If your money isn't earning interest that's on pace with inflation it will actually be worth less to you in the future. And if the bank charges fees? Forget about it. Make sure you're earning the interest you deserve and come out on top. NerdWallet has researched dozens of financial institutions to help consumers find the best options. The hard work has already been done for you, so you can just select the account that works best for you and your nest egg.
Keep an eye on everything, securely
Once everything is set up, tracking and managing your finances is what will keep the money machine running smoothly. You can create an account either through the site or the app and link your bank accounts, then keep tabs on all your finances in one place. Get a clear picture of your saving and spending, get insights into how to master your money, and even build your credit score all in one place.
Get extra credit points
Do you have the best credit card for your lifestyle? Some cards give cash back on every purchase, ones with travel perks, and ones that charge way less interest than you're paying now. NerdWallet takes the guesswork out of choosing the right credit card with simple side-by-side comparisons of different credit cards so that you feel confident choosing the right one. Whatever you want to do, NerdWallet can help you find the best credit card to get it done.
Know your options for settling down
Mortgage rates are pretty low and it looks like they're going to stay that way for awhile, so buying a home might be the move sooner than you think. But there's so much more to a mortgage than just the interest rate! To help you choose a mortgage lender, NerdWallet has in-depth reviews on multiple lenders in a mixture of categories so you get the home loan with the mortgage rate, term, and fees that's right for you.
Settle an old score
NerdWallet helps you monitor your credit score for free and helps you see how little things (like raising the limit on your credit card or paying your bills on time) can increase your score. NerdWallet partners with TransUnion® to provide your VantageScore® 3.0, based on information in your TransUnion® credit report. Your score and credit report information are updated weekly. But that's not even close to all:
- They provide you with tips from experts on how you could build or optimize your credit score
- You'll get a detailed look at your credit score and all the factors that go into it—your payment history, credit utilization, the age and type of accounts, balances, and any recent inquiries
- The credit simulator tool gives you an idea of how your credit score would change if you applied for a new credit card, closed your oldest credit card, or got a new auto loan
- You also get free, unlimited access to your credit report
When it comes to managing your money, safe and reliable is where it's at. Establishing a healthy relationship with your finances begins when you take control and practice habits that build wealth. Signing up just takes a few minutes. Set your intentions to build a solid financial foundation, it will only strengthen your relationship with your finances. And don't be afraid to get a little nerdy while you're at it.