Home Science & Tech ‘HealthTap+’ App Connects Patients to Doctors Almost Instantly

‘HealthTap+’ App Connects Patients to Doctors Almost Instantly

‘HealthTap+’ App Connects Patients to Doctors Almost Instantly
Robert Perez/Staff Illustrator

Bailee Abell
Executive Content Editor

Thanks to the recently released app “HealthTap+,” doctors are now video chatting patients with a few touches on a smartphone screen. The app, currently ranked second in the top 10 best mobile apps listed on 10 Best App, connects patients with doctors via a mobile device in order to provide consultations without ever having to leave the house.

According to the HealthTap+ website, the app was created in order to help patients and their loved ones live “healthier, happier, longer lives.” The app founders claim to have created “the world’s most trustworthy, comprehensive, and evergreen knowledge base of doctor-created, -curated, and -edited health expertise,” connecting individuals to doctors almost instantly. The app also allows users to ask general questions or request more personal consultations depending on their urgency and medical needs.

Upon downloading the app, the user is greeted with a message asking if they want to connect with a doctor immediately. Press “no,” and you begin setting up your profile. This consists of entering basic information, including your name, gender, location and date of birth. After this, the user selects topics of interest to follow “for a more personalized experience.” Under the tabs Living Healthier, Parenting and Pregnancy, Growing Older and Managing a Condition, the user will find several topics that they may be interested in either learning more about, improving about themselves or managing within their life. For example, under the Living Healthier tab, topics of interest range from losing or gaining weight to meditation to overcoming nail biting to having safe sex.

After this, the user may choose to invite doctors to their “Care-Team.” These doctors are tailored to the interests selected and may be doctors in fields ranging from sports medicine to clinical psychology. Inviting doctors to the Care-Team allows the user to video or text-chat with them upon selecting a doctor, a window appears notifying the user that they may schedule a live video chat or send a secure message to the doctor by clicking “Consult now.” The patients select a doctor using this automatic window.

However, here is where the app gets tricky. While the app itself is free to download, consultations are not. A subscription to a messaging service with a doctor of your choice costs $15 per month, while a consultation with a doctor and access to prescription services costs $49. Moreover, it seems as though using the app for convenient doctor-patient communication services is great, but if you already have health insurance, this may not be the option for you.

Direct connection is not the only service the app provides. The app home page is your “Feed,” and when scrolling through, you will find various questions related to your topics of interest that you selected to learn more about. There may be links to outside articles, brief tips or app recommendations, all tailored and selected for your specific lifestyle.

Additionally, the app also features a “To-Do” tab, where users will find several options for recommended to-do lists to help them meet their personal and health-related goals. These lists are created by doctors and allow you to check off tasks every time you complete them, stating how many times the tasks has been completed so far and how many “actions taken” at the bottom of the list. You can also allow the app to send you notifications, which may come in the form of reminders to let you know that you should accomplish the tasks on your lists, such as eating fruits and vegetables with every meal or paying attention to when you are biting your nails.

The main goal of the app is to make life more convenient for the user, so only use it if you believe it will fit with your lifestyle. If you are a health-conscious college student, this app may be just right for you, especially if you don’t visit Student Health. The doctor-patient connection seems to be a personal and efficient way to get the advice you need when you need it, without having to leave your home to consult with a medical professional. If you think visiting an off-campus doctor’s office is too time consuming or inconvenient for you, then give this app a try. If you don’t think it’s worth the price, maybe stick to Student Health.

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Bailee Abell is a fourth-year English major and previously the 2015-2016 Executive Content Editor at The Bottom Line. She has been with TBL since her freshman year, first as a staff writer and then as the Associated Students Beat Reporter, when she became known for her investigative reporting of the UCSB student government. She can be found in local coffee shops and sunny places, either editing articles, reading novels or watching reruns of Gilmore Girls, but rarely without a coffee in hand. Her blog is at BaileeAbell.blogspot.com.
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