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How Doctor On Demand Works

Patient at home talking to a doctor online through a mobile phone
The telemedicine service Doctor on Demand got its start years before COVID-19 slammed the global health care system. StockPlanets/E+/Getty Images

Are you tired of waiting to see a board-certified doctor or specialist? Don't feel like going into a physical doctor's office while there's a pandemic going on? Doctor On Demand is a telemedicine service that can solve both of these problems and provide you with medical care. The service enables you to see a doctor anytime, anywhere, right from your computer.

Whether you need to see a physician or a mental health expert, Doctor On Demand can provide you with care at home, whether it's a minor health concern or follow-up or specialty care.

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Doctor On Demand was first created in 2012 by Dr. Phil McGraw, aka Dr. Phil the famous TV doctor, and his son Jay. Launched in 2013, it became one of the first telemedicine apps, giving people the ability to access and meet with doctors online via videoconferencing.

Doctor On Demand's model is simple: Patients can grab an online appointment and be facing a doctor on their screen without waiting. With a network of 14,000 physicians and 300 certified mental health professionals, the platform eliminates the need to wait 30 days or more to see a doctor. Within a few minutes, you can set up an appointment to chat about your health concerns.

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The services states that all physicians and mental health experts go through a rigorous selection process before they can join the Doctor On Demand network. According to the health siteVerywell Mind, doctors undergo an interview process, as well as a thorough review of clinical experience, training, licensing and background checks. They're also monitored through a quality assurance process after they've been hired.

As with other telemedicine services, such as PlushCare, Amwell, Teladoc and iCliniq, Doctor On Demand offers a wide variety of care over the internet including urgent care services, behavioral health, preventative health and chronic illness care.

Getting an appointment takes very little time. Once you create an account online, you'll be able to meet with a doctor in a few minutes.

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Setting up profile on Doctor on Demand
Getting started with your profile for Doctor on Demand
Screenshot by HowStuffWorks

Doctor On Demand's physicians can meet with you about nearly any nonemergency health concern that falls within the categories of urgent care, behavioral health, preventative health and chronic care. This includes:

  • Wellness visits;
  • Skin conditions;
  • Allergies;
  • Anxiety;
  • Depression, and;
  • Managing high cholesterol, diabetes, and diet and nutrition.

It's just like a real doctor's appointment. In fact, doctors will even be able to access your vitals through tools like Apple's HealthKit. They also can provide a doctor's note if needed for work or school.

Even more importantly, as Verywell Health notes, many doctors have specialized training in treating specific conditions or health concerns. Doctors can write new prescriptions, refill current prescriptions and recommend external care such as visits to specialists or physical therapy. However, doctors on this platform cannot prescribe any controlled substances such as benzodiazepines or stimulants.

Wondering about privacy? All of your information is stored on encrypted servers inside encrypted databases, where only certain APIs can access it. The entire Doctor On Demand service is HIPAA compliant as well.

Doctor on Demand screenshot
Once you've created and are logged into your Doctor on Demand profile, you may see a screen like this. Screenshot by HowStuffWorks

Seeing a doctor on the platform is simple and straightforward. To get started, you'll need to create an account on the Doctor On Demand website or app. You'll fill out a profile sharing your medical history, note what's currently wrong and why you need to see a doctor. After completing the profile, you'll be connected with a health care provider.

If you're meeting with a therapist instead of a doctor, the process is slightly different since you get to choose who you want to work with. You can browse licensed therapists in your state, read about their backgrounds and schedule an appointment with whomever you'd like. Don't want to look through the list of psychologists and select one yourself? Simply choose an appointment time and be randomly assigned to a therapist.

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Appointments typically last 15 minutes, with doctors working to discuss your primary concern with you. Therapy sessions or psychiatry appointments last between 25 minutes and 50 minutes. All follow-ups last 15 minutes.

Doctor On Demand is currently available in 47 U.S. states, and you can access it via an iOS or Android device, as well as through your laptop or tablet. The Doctor On Demand app states that all physicians and psychiatrists on the telemedicine platform are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, including holidays. Traveling internationally? Doctor on Demand can provide medical advice for international patients but cannot write prescriptions.

Doctor On Demand accepts many different health insurance plans, such as UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Humana and Cigna. You can use your employer's insurance plans, your own independent insurance or whatever kind of insurance you have.

If you don't have insurance, there are set prices for each service you use. Doctor On Demand charges:

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  • $75 for a basic medical visit;
  • $129 for 25 minutes with a therapist;
  • $179 for 50 minutes with a therapist;
  • $299 for an initial psychiatrist visit and;
  • $129 for psychiatrist follow ups.

They accept many different payment methods, including all major credit cards, PayPal, and HSA and FSA debit cards.

Getting started with Doctor On Demand is easy. You can choose to set up your account on the company's website — just make sure your computer is equipped with a camera and a video conferencing service like Skype — or through the app.

Each person in your family will need to make their own account, as patient's medical histories are stored within individual accounts. Once you've created an account, you can start addressing your health concerns in no time at all.

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