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When people have a medical question, they schedule an appointment to see their doctor. Palo Alto, California-based HealthTap aims to change that. The company’s free web and mobile applications enable 24/7 access to personalized, relevant and trusted health information from thousands of leading doctors without leaving your home or office.
At the HealthTap website, users post questions and doctors post brief answers. The service is free and the doctors aren’t paid. Instead, they are allowed to use the resource to enhance their real-life practice with more efficient patient visits (saving everyone time and money), as well as build their reputation and attract new patients.
The HealthTap app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad users, enabling them to connect to 14,000 U.S.-licensed physicians across 115 speciality areas. Questions are usually answered in less than 24 hours for free. Fellow physicians can show they agree with answers by clicking an “Agree” button and users can show their appreciation by clicking a “Thank” button.
If a person wants to ask a personalized question to a particular doctor or send along their charts, there’s a small fee of $9.99. Clarifying questions are free and two follow-up questions at $5.99 each are allowed. The questions are guaranteed to be answered within 72 hours or the person gets their money back. All correspondence is private and considered confidential.
Although the app isn’t the only one available that attempts to answer patient questions, it’s the only one that contains a HIPAA-secure feature for sending medical records, images or video.
Although $10 or $20 may seem expensive for a question, it’s less expensive than a co-pay to visit your doctor and much less expensive than the cost of a doctor’s visit for an average person who doesn’t have insurance (around $200). Check out the HealthTap experience video below.