We answer all your questions for your peace of mind.

FAQs

What is telemedicine?

The use of information technology including the telephone, the Internet and personal computers, for diagnosing, treating and monitoring patients. Telemedicine is adding a new dimension to modern health care. These advances are not only making care more accessible and convenient, they are also helping to raise the quality and contain the costs of medical care.

How can a traditional face-to face doctor visit be replaced with a telephonic or on line medical consultation?

Hello Doctor’s service is not intended to replace your primary care physician. Hello Doctor provides access to licensed physicians for medical consultations to supplement the care from your primary care physician. For common or chronic conditions, a telephone or email medical consultation can sometimes replace a doctor office or emergency room visit, but communication with your primary care physician is important for continuity of care. Hello Doctor online tools allow patients to share their Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) with their primary care physicians – quickly and easily.

May a doctor be allowed to diagnose and treat a patient over the telephone without ever seeing the patient face-to-face?

This is determined on a case-by-case basis by the consulting physician using his/her own medical judgment as to whether sufficient information has been obtained from the patient on which to make evaluation, diagnoses, and recommend a treatment plan, which may or may not include prescriptions for medication. This entire process is documented appropriately, and in detail, and under no circumstances do any physicians in the Hello Doctor Physician Network prescribe any DEA-controlled (Class II, etc.) medications.

Does Hello Doctor offer access to both informational and diagnostic medical consultations by telephone to physicians in all US states?

Presently, Hello Doctor offers access to informational medical consultations by telephone and secure email to physicians in all US states; and access to diagnostic medical consultations by telephone to physicians in all US states, except Oklahoma.

What is the Hello Doctor Service?

Hello Doctor connects members 24 hours, 7 days a week via telephone and email with U.S.-based, licensed physicians and board-certified specialists who have independently contracted to be participating providers in the Hello Doctor Physician Network. It is a convenient and affordable alternative that increases access to physician care, while lowering healthcare costs.

How does a consultation work?

Hello Doctor provides access to physicians for telephone or secure email medical consultations. The medical services offered during a consultation can range from providing general advice to making a diagnosis, recommending treatment, and prescribing medication, when appropriate.

What conditions can be treated by a telephone consultation with a physician?

Hello Doctor provides access to physicians for the treatment of non-emergency, common conditions involving routine primary care. Specific examples include allergies, throat infections, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, gastroenteritis, and many other every day ailments. Should a member present a case that in the judgment of the consulting physician requires further examination, the consulting physician may recommend that the patient submit for blood work, see a primary care physician, etc.

Where are Hello Doctor ’s services available?

Hello Doctor ’s services are available from anywhere, as long as the member has telephone or Internet access. Members can use the service from home, at work, or on the road. Currently Telemedicine is not available in OK.

Why might some one use the Hello Doctor service instead of seeing their own doctor?

According to the Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA), as many as 70% of doctor office visits and emergency room visits are unnecessary. While the care was necessary, the travel and cost of the visit could be avoided. Hello Doctor provides a more convenient, and cost-effective alternative to the high cost setting of a doctor’s office or the ER. Hello Doctor believes that their services can reduce healthcare costs, maximize physician access for rural residents, and offer convenience without sacrificing quality of care.

Does Hello Doctor ’s service replace the need for a Primary Care Physician?

Hello Doctor ’s service does not replace the need for a Primary Care Physician. The service is designed to supplement care administered by the member’s primary care physician. It should only be used as alternative to the traditional health care setting when appropriate, and as needed.

Does the physician review the member’s medical history before performing a consult?

Yes. The patient must provide full medical history to the physician prior to the telephone consult. The consulting physician reviews the medical history that is provided by the member, and any other relevant medical records stored in the member’s HIPAA-compliant electronic medical record.

How does Hello Doctor obtain the member’s medical history?

Members are required to complete a comprehensive medical history prior to participating in the initial diagnostic consultation. The medical history questionnaire becomes a permanent part of the member’s electronic medical record and is available to be updated by the member at any time. Prior to every diagnostic medical consultation, the automated system will ask the member if there are any changes or updates to the medical history that is on file. The detailed medical history is similar to the information an individual provides during his or her first office visit to a Primary Care Physician, including past medical history, previously diagnosed conditions, current medications, and group agreement.

How are patient records maintained at Hello Doctor?

Although Hello Doctor is not technically a covered entity, the Company follows the laws and regulations related to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and patient privacy. The Member provides the medical history and is responsible for updates and any related medical information they choose to load into their medical record. Additionally, after each consultation, the physician amends the patient record with the relevant medical progress notes. Provided the member has supplied the proper HIPAA release documents, the medical record can be shared with the member’s primary care physician facilitating continuity of care.

What are the different types of consultation services offered?

There are two different types of service:

  • Informational Consultations (by telephone or email) : Convenient, 24/7 telephone or email access to physicians for general advice and recommendations regarding routine medical conditions.
  • Diagnostic Consultations: Comprehensive telephone medical consultation, often resulting in diagnosis and specific treatment recommendations. A complete medical assessment is required prior to consult. Medication may be prescribed as appropriate. These consults occur within 1 hour of the patient’s requested consultation time.
  • Secure Email Consultation: Secure email communication with a physician for information and advice about common conditions. Appropriate for discussing sensitive medical issues in a discreet fashion.

Can a member access the service from abroad?

Yes, the system is accessible from anywhere, provided the member has telephone or internet access. Diagnostic consults require a call back from the system, and the system can only call U.S.- based phone numbers. If you are living abroad, the use of a Skype or a Magic Jack US based number would be sufficient.

Can consulting physicians recommend specific primary care physicians or specialists?

While Hello Doctor is not a referral service, participating physicians in the Hello Doctor Physician Network are free to make such recommendations that they deem appropriate.

If someone has a pre-existing condition, can he/she still be a member?

Yes. This is not insurance, so there are no exclusions or access denials because of pre-existing conditions. There are no additional fees if the member has a pre-existing condition.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

Yes. Members must be at least 18 years of age. Dependents or secondary members, can be minors, however a guardian must conduct a medical consultation on behalf of an underage dependant that is on the account.

Who can become a member?

Anyone is accepted regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Do members have the opportunity to upgrade?

Individual memberships have many levels of service, and individual members can upgrade their plan at any time. Members that are enrolled through a group plan may or may not be able to upgrade depending on the nature of the group agreement.

So who are our doctors?

Hello Doctor doctors are U.S. board-certified in internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine and emergency medicine. They’re doctors just like your primary care physician (PCP) or pediatrician. They incorporate telehealth or telemedicine into their medical practice because they see it as a way to give more affordable, more convenient access to quality care. What doctor wouldn’t love that?

Hello Doctor doctors are:

  • U.S. Board-certified U.S. board-certified in internal medicine, family practice, emergency medicine or pediatrics.
  • State-licensed Licensed in their respective states. When you call Hello Doctor , you will always speak with a doctor licensed to practice medicine in your state.
  • Experience With an average of 15 years of practice experience.
  • Verified Verified through the National Physician Data Base (NPDB) and the American Medical Association (AMA) for medical licensure, training and education, work history, malpractice history and International background check completed through ICPO.
  • Credentialed Our quality processes meet National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards. Telemedicine doctors are re-credentialed every three years.
  • U.S. residents Living and working in the United States.
  • Telehealth specialists With specialized training in talking with patients and diagnosing over the phone and with online video, while adhering to strict clinical protocols.

Are the consulting physicians in the U.S.?

Yes. Physicians are U.S.-based, and licensed. In addition, all specialists are board-certified.

Do consulting physicians speak other languages besides English?

While some of the participating physicians in the Hello Doctor Physician Network do speak other languages, the service is presently only available in English and Spanish.

Does Hello Doctor have physicians in all U.S. states?

Yes. The service is available in all U.S. states.

How many physicians are available?

Hello Doctor maintains relationships with enough physicians nationwide to adequately service the membership in each state. Hello Doctor ’s promise is to provide access to physicians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week within a 60 minute time window and maintains a physician panel that continues to expand along with Hello Doctor ’s membership.

Does Hello Doctor have any specialists available?

Hello Doctor maintains active relationships with physicians with diverse backgrounds and specialties. Consultations with physicians of a specific specialty are not currently available.

How do physicians get paid?

Physicians who are independently contracted as participating providers in the Hello Doctor Physician Network are compensated out of Monthly Membership fees for their provision of informational consultations. For diagnostic consultations, their per consult fees are collected on their behalf by Hello Doctor at time of service from the member.

How does Hello Doctor ensure that physicians are available at all times?

Hello Doctor maintains a proprietary technology platform which manages physician availability in accordance with member demand.

What are the physicians' qualifications?

The credentialing process is conducted by an outside third party service that follows the credentialing protocol set forth by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). NCQA is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. Since its founding in 1990, NCQA has been a central figure in driving improvement throughout the health care system, helping to elevate the issue of health care quality to the top of the national agenda.

Are physicians evaluated?

Yes. Following each consultation, the members are surveyed and the results are recorded. Member satisfaction results are shared with the doctors. In addition, a statistically relevant sample of all consultations is reviewed for quality as part of the company’s Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) policy.

Can members get prescriptions from a consulting physician?

This is determined on a case-by-case basis by the consulting physician using his/her own medical judgment as to whether sufficient information has been obtained from the patient on which to make evaluation, diagnoses, and recommend a treatment plan, which may or may not include prescriptions for medication. This entire process is documented appropriately, and in detail, and under no circumstances do any physicians in the Hello Doctor Physician Network prescribe any DEA-controlled (Class II, etc.) medications.

Are there any limitations as to what medications physicians can prescribe?

Hello Doctor physicians do not prescribe DEA-controlled (Class II, etc.) medications, psychological medication and any medication that would elevate blood pressure.

How are prescriptions filled?

Hello Doctor is not a pharmacy and it does not profit in any way from prescribing or filling prescription medications. The prescribing doctor typically calls in the prescription by telephone or uses e-prescribing tools to provide the prescription to the member’s preferred pharmacy.

Does the individual member save money?

Recent studies indicate that 70% of all doctor office visits are unnecessary due to conditions that relate to the common cold. The service provides members with access to physicians 24/7. Avoiding the cost of visiting a primary care physician, urgent care or the emergency room when it is not necessary, saves member’s time and money. Additionally, members are not taking costly time off from work.

How does Hello Doctor work with a member's medical insurance?

Hello Doctor’s service is not health or medical insurance; nor are the consultation services provided by the physicians who are independently contracted as participating providers in the Hello Doctor Physician Network, considered covered services on any health insurance policy. Hello Doctor ‘s service works independently of any health plan. All fees associated with the service are paid by the member or the members sponsoring organization.

If the physician recommends that a member see a specialist or primary care physician, does the member still have to pay the consult fee?

Yes. Like seeing any doctor, if the patient is referred out to another physician, the consultation fees still apply.

Is the Service the same as a nurse hotline?

No. The service is very different from a nurse hot line. Unlike the Hello Doctor service, nurses do not have the educational background, training, or licensing to practice comprehensive medicine. They cannot make a medical diagnosis and they cannot prescribe medical treatment.

Why might someone use the service instead of just going to WebMD or another online health content provider?

WebMD provides valuable information. Sometimes after reading information on the internet, people want to get clarification from a doctor who can help sort through some of the technical issues.

Why might someone use Hello Doctor when he/she could go to an urgent care center or some other kind of walk-in clinic?

Urgent care clinics are a lower cost setting than the emergency room and serve a very valuable purpose in the continuum of care. The Clinic setting is still much more expensive and often unnecessary for many common conditions.