How to Avoid Doctor's Office Germs With Little Kids (Adults Too!) - I had never considered going to an online doctor til I read this post! The girl from PlanForAwesome.com tells you all about it, and it is surprisingly cheaper than an in-person visit to the doctor!!  Who knew?! #onlinedoctor #momlife

Cold and flu season is upon us!  I hate sickness. I hate germs.

Germaphobia is real. And I have it. Bigtime. I’d say my level of germaphobia is in the high 90s out of 100. Like, I think the only person who tops my germaphobe level is Bill Murray in “What About Bob.”

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is…I have two rules in my house. Take off your shoes, and wash your hands.  It’s not just a recommendation. It’s a real rule.  If someone goes outside, they wash hands when they come back in.  My kids seriously struggle with the decision of going outside or not. They’ve got to decide if the fun they have outside will be worth the payment of washing their hands when they come in.  I know.  They have such a rough life.  I’ve actually caught my son sticking his hands under his shirt and opening the door with his shirt instead of his hand, so he wouldn’t have to wash his hands when he came back in (because…well…the door handle on the outside door is full of germs, of course).

Germaphobe Levels Skyrocket.

You can imagine my anxiety when one of my kids needs to go to the doctor.  Talk about a germ fest!!!! How ironic that you go to the doctor for one problem, and you come out with 5 others all over your hands and clothes!  Nope. No thanks.  There has to be something SERIOUSLY wrong for me to take my kids to the doctor.

BUT!  Did you know you can “go” to the doctor in your own home? And I’m not talking about a doctor who does house calls (because…GROSS! I can’t decide what’s worse: going to a doctor’s office and getting the germs all over you, or having a doctor go from house to house, depositing all the germs right into your home)!

Nope, nope, nope. I’m talking about an ONLINE doctor.  If you have not tried this before, you are seriously missing out.  It’s amazing.  Probably my favorite use of modern technology. Ever.

The Solution to Germaphobia.  Okay, not really.  But a Reduction in Anxiety When it Comes to Germs and Doctors Offices.

Obviously, there are some things you’d need to see a doctor in person for.  If you need a doctor to listen to your kid’s lungs or x-ray a possible broken arm, an online doc isn’t going to cut it.

However…you can see pink eye goop on FaceTime. It’s just not hard to spot, people!  You can get an antibiotic on FaceTime.  A doctor can see a rash over video.  There are a lot of things that CAN be taken care of over the amazing video capabilities we have now.  And it’s SO EASY!!! And SO AFFORDABLE!!

How to Avoid Doctor's Office Germs With Little Kids (Adults Too!) - If you haven't ever considered an online doctor, think again! The girl from PlanForAwesome.com tells you all about it, and it is surprisingly cheaper than an in-person visit to the doctor!! #onlinedoctor #sickkids

So Many Options!

  • LiveHealth Online
  • PlushCare
  • CallOnDoc
  • MDLive
  • Amwell – I checked out a couple different websites a couple years ago when I first tried this, and settled on Amwell. I’ve used them a number of times and have been very happy with them.  However, after writing this post, I think I would try some of the cheaper ones!
  • Doctor On Demand
  • Teladoc
  • MD Proactive
  • SmartDocMD – this one is not a video visit…you fill out a questionnaire online and health history.  It gives you a free prognosis, and then if you’d like to pay $20, a doctor will review your case and have any necessary prescriptions called in to your pharmacy within 30 minutes.  So this one is all done without video and it’s cheaper than the others.  So basically you are paying $20 for someone to call in a prescription for you.  I LOVE this option if it is something you know you need and going to the doctor would just be a total waste of time.  ***And I have a coupon code for you!!!!  Use the code AWESOME18 for FREE CARE, good until January 1, 2019.  SmartDocMD is currently only serving California.***  They are HIIPA compliant and adhere to the same security standards as traditional clinics and hospitals.

Cost.

So let’s talk about cost.  A “visit” with Amwell is $69.  That’s it.  You read that right.  $69.  And that’s with no insurance.

***Remember I said Amwell is more expensive than most of these!  Most are $39 – $49 WITHOUT insurance!***

Lots of insurance companies are now embracing this practice; for instance, our insurance brings our cost down to $49 per visit.  And we pay 100% of everything cash.  We bill it through our insurance, but our deductible is so high that we end up paying the full amount out-of-pocket.  So that $20 break is just a discount because our insurance is associated with it, or something like that.  I don’t really understand it.  But my point is, that is full price.  That isn’t a copay.  That is the full bill.  $49.  That is about 1/3 the cost of going to an actual doctor’s office for us.  So this is actually CHEAPER than physically going to a doctor’s office.  Crazy, right?

For those who have insurance that is actually worthwhile, I don’t know what the comparison would be.  But I would HIGHLY recommend checking it out.  There is a good chance this would cost you the same, if not less, than your copay for a normal doctor’s visit.

Even if your insurance doesn’t accept this as an option, $39 is totally worth it to me to not have to load everyone up when someone is sick and expose my kids to all the germs in a doctor’s office.

The Process.

Now let’s talk about the process (I will discuss the process I experienced with Amwell, but I would imagine these other ones are the same, with the exception of SmartDocMD).

  1. Go to the website.  It takes about a minute to enroll. It’s seriously so easy!
  2. Pick your doctor.  You will be provided a list of doctors with their ratings and qualifications.  I have always just opted for the next available doctor, and I have no complaints; they’ve all been great!
  3. You are then put in a “virtual” waiting room (did I mention there’s no germs here?! You’re still in your living room!!!!) I have never waited longer than 20 minutes.  20 minutes!!!! And I didn’t have to leave my house!!!! I sat there in my living room and went about my day until the call connected.  Sooooo convenient.
  4. The doctor on the screen is a real live doctor, dressed in doctor clothes, and is sitting in an office.  It’s not like you get some random dude in his pajamas sitting in his garage. It’s very professional.  You tell him/her what the problem is, talk about it just like you would in a normal doctor’s office, and then figure out a solution.  If there is something the doctor needs to see, like a rash or pink eye, you just cozy up to your webcam and let them take a look.  They can call in/fax prescriptions just like your normal doctor does.

That’s it.  That’s IT!  Isn’t that A-MAZ-ING???!!!

So instead of packing up your sick kids, driving to the doctor, waiting in the waiting room full of germ-infested toys and fish tank glass (is it just me or does every single doctor’s office have a fish tank?), touching scales and blood pressure cuffs and all sorts of other medical instruments that they don’t disinfect in between patients, sitting on a table with the thinnest paper possible, that is only 1 foot wide, leaving plenty of unprotected, unsanitized table exposed for your kid to sit on, lay on, lick, and sneeze all over, … need I go on? I’m getting sick just thinking about all those germs.

Just say no! Stay home!

How to Avoid Doctor's Office Germs With Little Kids (Adults Too!) - I had never considered going to an online doctor til I read this post! The girl from PlanForAwesome.com tells you all about it - it's so easy and cheap!! #onlinedoctor #sickkids

Oh!  And a Few More Reasons to Give This a Try, Even if You AREN’T A GERMAPHOBE.

  1. I don’t care who you are or if you don’t even know the word, “germ.”  Packing up little kids to go anywhere is a chore.  And it’s ten times worse when they’re sick.  Germs or no germs, it’s an extra outing that I can’t imagine anyone looking forward to taking.
  2. Is it just me or do kids not get sick until about 5 minutes before the doctor closes?  These websites are open 24/7, weekends, and holidays.
  3. Traveling.  You don’t have your normal doctor.  The last thing you want to do is have to figure out what doctors are allowed and “in-network,” and do the whole vacation doctor runaround.  If your insurance accepts these online doctor visits, you’re golden.  “Go” to the doctor from your hotel room, or grandma’s house, or wherever you are.
  4. ER lines.  Need I say more?
  5. Lines. Period.
  6. Waiting rooms.
  7. Save the Earth.  Spare the Air.  Don’t contribute to pollution by driving to the doctor.  Just call them instead.
  8. Time is money.  I just saved you at LEAST a two-hour excursion to the doctor.  You’re welcome.

For more tips for keeping germs to yourself and hacks for taking care of sick kids (and adults), check out my other posts on this topic: Why Every Home Needs a Cowbell This Winter (I’m NOT Kidding!), and  11 Absolutely Genius Mom Hacks for Taking Care of Sick Kids!

To learn how to get your medicine cupboard winter-ready, check out this post HERE.

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How to Avoid Doctor's Office Germs With Little Kids (Adults Too!) - I had never considered going to an online doctor til I read this post! The girl from PlanForAwesome.com tells you all about it, and it is surprisingly cheaper than an in-person visit to the doctor!! #onlinedoctor #momlife