98point6: How We Treat Patients via Text
Virtual care may sound mysterious and even a little ambiguous, but it’s actually more straightforward than you think. In this new series aimed at addressing patients’ top questions and concerns, our goal is to offer a better understanding of how 98point6 works and fits into your life— empowering you to take charge of your health and thrive.
1. HOW DO PHYSICIANS TREAT VIA A TEXT-BASED APP? HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?
98point6 Physician, Erkeda DeRouen, MD: Believe it or not, in traditional primary care office visits, most of the diagnosis is made prior to the physician even entering the room to evaluate you. Typically, when you alert the office staff of your concern and symptoms, they present that information to the physician, who in turn, narrows the diagnoses to a few suspected causes. In the majority of cases, a physical exam is actually not needed to confirm or determine the cause.
At 98point6, physicians use that very same approach; however, they’re trained to pair their clinical knowledge and work with information collected by our Automated Assistant and from the patient, via secure, text-based messaging, to determine if an in-person exam, labs or other diagnostics might be necessary. As mentioned above, more often than not, conditions are identifiable by description thanks to a physician’s years of education and training.
People also seem more comfortable discussing awkward issues or asking embarrassing questions over a text-based application than face-to-face—this often results in a more honest, productive encounter.
Patient safety is our number one priority, so if there is any evidence that an in-person visit is necessary, we’ll provide them with the appropriate next steps for the care they need. We’re here 24/7, so you can always return to us with follow-up questions.
2. HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM HAVING A PCP? DOES THIS MEAN I DON’T NEED A PCP ANYMORE?
98point6 Physician, Erkeda DeRouen, MD: 98point6 is not meant to replace your primary care physician. In fact, we still recommend you see your doctor at least once a year for an in-person physical exam and regular screenings like a pap smear.
Aside from the above, a lot of illnesses (colds, stomach bugs, rashes, pink eye, UTIs) can be treated without an in-person visit, which can save you time, travel, stress and even cost. And if you simply have medical questions—or nagging worries—our board-certified physicians are more reassuring (and accurate) than asking Dr. Internet (Learn more about that here).
If you do seek care through 98point6, we encourage you to keep your physician in the loop. Because you can access the transcripts of your 98point6 visits at any time from the app, the information is always at the ready when you visit your in-person provider, so you can keep them informed of any new diagnoses or prescriptions, or dosing adjustments to a medication you have been taking.
Our goal at 98point6 is to be a collaborative partner with your primary care physician, and a more convenient option to seek care when you need it.
3. ARE THERE LIMITATIONS ON WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T TREAT?
98point6 Physician, Erkeda DeRouen, MD: As providers of text-based virtual care, there are some conditions that we’re not able to diagnose, examine or treat. For instance, if you are having chest pain or experiencing an emergency, you will need to be evaluated by an in-person doctor.
Some medical conditions, like autoimmune diseases and ADHD, require diagnosis and follow-up by specialists.
In terms of treatment, we understand it’s frustrating if a 98point6 physician is unable to prescribe a particular medication. We make clinic policies based on the most evidence-based administration of prescriptions and antibiotics, as well as regulations that prohibit us from prescribing controlled substances. These guidelines are all a part of upholding the highest standards of patient care. Visit our FAQs to learn more on this topic.
BOTTOM LINE: Virtual care with 98point6 makes it easy to get a better handle on your health. And once you realize how simple it is, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.