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- Telemedicine services let you connect with a doctor or nurse without having to leave your house.
- Virtual doctor’s visits are often a cheaper approach to medical care for people who don’t have insurance.
- Platforms offer different consultation types, care focuses, ability to write prescriptions, and insurance coverage.
- This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Zlatin Ivanov, MD, psychiatrist and addiction specialist at Psychiatrist NYC.
Busy schedules, compromised immune systems, just plain ease of use — we have long had reasons to take our doctor’s visits virtual. But thanks to the pandemic, telemedicine has become necessary not only for getting scary symptoms checked but also staying on top of routine wellness check-ups, all while staying risk-free.
Luckily, health services were way ahead of the need: There are dozens of ways to receive medical care that doesn’t involve physically visiting doctor’s offices or urgent care centers. Any of these that use technology to allow doctors and patients to interact with one another is known as telemedicine.
The rise of virtual health platforms over the last few years — and explosion of services the last few months — has so many advantages: It lets you get worrisome symptoms checked STAT (which became invaluable in 2020), access healthcare when you’re on the road or traveling abroad, and make routine health checkups way easier to check off the list for people with busy lives.
And yet, certain groups of people still feel like telemedicine isn’t right or isn’t an option for them: A huge study of over 148,000 people, published in 2020 in JAMA Network Open, found that older folks, females, Black and Latinx people, people who don’t speak English, and those with a lower income were all less likely to use a telemedicine service.
In reality, virtual platforms are easy to use, are often much cheaper out-of-pocket than an in-person primary care visit, and most offer multi-lingual doctors. What’s more, specialized platforms like FOLX Health, which supports treats Queer and Trans health, or Maven Clinic, a reproductive health platform, can connect you with niche experts to provide medical support specific to you and your life or body, which you might not otherwise have access to near where you live.
At the end of this guide, we go into more detail on what exactly telemedicine is and why you should consider using it. Below are 14 of the top telemedicine services, offering everything from quick and easy consultations to mental health outreach.
Updated on 2/22/2021 by Rachael Schultz: Added newly-launched FOLX Health and free hotline services
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