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No waiting rooms, no copay: 6 apps to get a doctor's advice

Mika Belle | July 2, 2013
Because you can't ask Siri, "Does this look infected to you?"

HealthTap--Android, iOS (Free)

This app allows users to ask a doctor a specfic question and wait for a reply (for free), or get an expedited answer (for a buck). Before the question is sent off, the app will also provide you with several possible answers related to the health question and symptoms described. HealthTap holds a wealth of free information on many physical ailments, described in detail in prewritten answers from around 35,000 licensed doctors.

Information and opinions are given by topic, so users can see responses from different doctors and can consider different opinions. HealthTap can also store information from doctors of your choice, and help find you doctors in your area so you can schedule an apppointment. Additionally, the app provides daily health tips on a variety of topics, as well as answers to questions about symptoms, conditions, and medications.

HealthTap has a section for you to store your health information so that you can access it quickly and share data with your doctors—including scans, images, and health-related documents. It does require you to log in or create an account (in order to keep your data secure), and then asks for basic information about you as well as which three health topics you "care most about." The app then personalizes for your choices and can email you newsletters about those topics.

It's also nicely organized: The top of the app provides you access to your notifications, and a Settings menu gives access to your profile, activity, health files, and further settings. You can pad your profile information with details on your height, weight, blood type, insurance infromation, medications, allergies, procedures, pharmacy information, and more, so the app can provide you with the most accurate information.

HealthTap also has a search bar, an Act Now button that lets you ask a question, send a message, update your profile, follow a question that has been asked, or send a file. The Ask Doctors button gives you information on the fee options (again, free or $1) as well as a link to tips, conditions, and symptoms, using a model where you tap a body part to narrow down relevant symptoms.

Additionally, the app has advice on eating healthier or excercising more, and a Medications tab where you can search various medicines, add them to your profile, and see related questions. Overall, it's a really extensive app that provides a lot of detailed information and lets you create a complete personal profile.

Urgent Care—Android, iOS (Free)

This app is designed to take the place of going to an urgent-care clinic, but clearly states that you should go to an ER for medical emergencies. What it will do is connect you to medical professionals within 30 minutes—albeit for a fee. For $3.99, a nurse calls to talk about your health concern, then determines if you need to speak with a doctor, who will try to help remotely (with a simple prescription), refer you to a live doctor within a day, or tell if you if you should immediately go to an ER.


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