Maybe you got a nasty rash that came and went in a matter of hours. Perhaps your heart started feeling like it was jumping out of your chest at 3 a.m. By the time you made it to the doctor, your symptoms disappear. The doctor’s frustrating diagnosis: Come back when it happens again.
AppVisit, demoed at this year’s Body Computing Conference, is a potential solution to the lag time between symptoms and seeing (or videoconferencing with) your doctor. The platform connect patients with providers through asynchronous virtual visits–that is, visits in which patients don’t have to be present at the same time as a doctor.
On stage at the conference, AppMedicine’s director of business development, Laurie Gomer, gave the example of a patient waking up with a red eye. It could be conjunctivitis, and you aren’t supposed to leave the house with the highly contagious condition, so the patient could instead take a photo or video of the eye, send it through AppVisit to their physician, and wait for a follow-up through the app. The more tools a patient has at their disposal–a glucose monitor, an AliveCor ECG smartphone case, and so on–the more they can record crucial information about their symptoms at the exact time they happen.
In order to make the experience more personalized, doctors can create exam questions for patients to fill out at the time they open up the app (the kinds of questions the doctor would normally ask in person, basically). Once they’ve added in all their relevant information, patients are presented with an estimate of how long it will take their doctor to respond. A payment option is built in to the app for doctors who want to bill for the virtual visits. Follow-up visits can be scheduled in the app as well.
There are a number of telemedicine technologies already available, including Ringadoc, Spruce, and Medicast. In many cases, they are more convenient than AppVisit–there’s none of that pesky waiting involved when you can get a random doctor in a videochat within a matter of minutes. But for those times that you actually want to talk to your own doctor on your own schedule, AppVisit isn’t a bad option.