Doctor Visits doctors

McKay Thomas, and his app “First Opinion” may change the way we see the future of health care...

Thursday, July 03, 2014 Joshua Beck

A smartphone these days has become the average consumer’s sidearm of life, with many feeling helpless when without. With the seemingly limitless offerings and apps of the standard smartphone, it’s easy to see why! What about when it comes to medical counsel? Something of a life experience inspired McKay Thomas to create an app that could answer this question, and fill a niche in the market of mobile apps.

While McKay was living and working abroad in Brazil—family in tow—his wife became pregnant. Back home this would have been as simple as their first child; with their family doctor countries away they were forced to make due with long-distance phone calls, searching for suitable prenatal care in a foreign country, and ultimately making due with whatever they could find to help them leading up to delivery.
McKay’s experience opened his eyes to something that was missing in our world of instant communication and always-on: the ability to consult your doctor without even setting foot in their office.

McKay wanted to make simple communication with his family doctor unburdened by office visits, sitting in waiting rooms for hours, or even playing phone tag with nurses and receptionists; at the same time he could also see his app as a way for a renewed familiarity to be re-established in the doctor-patient relationship that has become so bureaucratic in the age of the information super highway. First Opinion would like to “reintroduce what was the norm not too long ago” of having a personal doctor that patients have a strong relationship with, the kinds of relationships that do not exist to most patients, “most doctors have offices in hospitals, or treat in practices with other General Practitioners, and the patient might rarely see the same doctor twice with very little continuity of care.” McKay is hoping his app will help re-establish the intimacy that has been lost with the old norms of health care. “re-imagine the entire relationship with your doctor, and we think that can be imagined with First Opinion.” This re-imagining may also help shape the future of a currently turbulent health care system, and perhaps even move the way we deal with illness away from the reactive approach that is often the norm when it comes to health care in the United States.

This ease of access and promotion of proactive health care can be a huge asset to the millennial generation as the common lifestyle seems to be juggling career, kids, and household; being able to deal with your medical needs, especially the most common and trivial questions with as much ease as you shoot tens of emails off from your smartphone every hour can seem like a necessity.

To start McKay wanted to offer the app on a free basis with a single monthly consultation costing absolutely nothing to, while every one after that in the same month will run you a wallet-bursting $12. Not bad at all considering a trip to the doctor, the wait, and the copay.
Interested in checking out First Opinion? Learn more about it here!

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