When I’m up late, pondering health care marketing, one of my guilty pleasures is watching reruns of Friends on nick@nite. This time period is ripe with infomercials, and I’ve seen them all—from Hot Buns to the Perfect Tortilla Pan to the Wax Vac – I’ve been tempted by each of them. But then one night I saw an infomercial for Call The Doc, a 24/7, 365 days a year network of board certified doctors and nurses to provide medical advice, prescription and referral services over the phone. How relevant to the trend of mobile health in our field right now!
As you can see in the commercial above, Call The Doc offers family coverage for $29.95/month, which includes 24-hour access to board certified physicians and nurses who can prescribe Z-Pak antibiotics, medications for acid reflux, cholesterol management, high blood pressure, thyroid disorder, and diabetes, that can be called into any pharmacy for pick-up. Plus, they offer coverage for both the insured and uninsured, have no restrictions for pre-existing conditions, and have no co-pays.
In our recent newsletter, The Rise of Mobile Health, we discussed how more doctors and practices are offering video chat capabilities for patients who cannot make it into the office during normal hours, and mobile apps to manage and monitor diseases that help to eliminate unnecessary office visits. These are all incredible advancements in the field of healthcare; however, do you think that a doctor whom you have never met would be able to diagnose you correctly over the phone? As someone in our office brought up, when speaking about symptoms, instead of seeing them, they could miss the difference between the flu and bacterial meningitis. What happens if it’s the latter?
Calling this service for medical advice is better than searching the internet for health information and self-diagnosing, but usually patients follow-up with their doctor for confirmation. What do you think? Can a call service provide the same level of care that your hospital or practice delivers?
Read more about mobile health trends, including gamification, mobile apps, and telehealth, in our latest issue of Protocol, “The Rise of Mobile Health.”
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Caitlin Mooney is the marketing manager at Smith & Jones, a healthcare marketing agency that specializes in hospital systems and large physician practices. Learn more here.