HUFFINGTON POST

10 Apps To Help You Get The Health Care You Need

02/24/2014 10:14 am ET | Updated Feb 24, 2014
Doctor On Demand/HealthTap/BetterDoctor

Finding the right doctor can be tricky. There's a whole number of things to take into consideration: Are you looking for specific care, for a certain condition? Do you care more about the doctor's credentials, or about reviews by other patients? Which doctors are the most convenient for you to visit -- and is it possible (or advisable) to see a doctor over your phone?

Finding the answers to these questions can be stressful, especially when you our your loved ones are already not feeling well. Fortunately, a growing number of smartphone apps are here to make the process a little less intimidating and easier to navigate. Here are 10 apps -- all free to download, though some may charge a fee for certain services -- to assist you in getting the health care you need.

  • Doctor On Demand
    Need the services of a doctor, but don't have time to actually see one in person? Enter Doctor On Demand, a free-to-download/subscription-fee-free app that enables you to video chat with a doctor for $40. Doctors are able to diagnose, treat and prescribe certain medications. Right now, the app is available in 30 states.

    Available for free download for iPhone and Android.
  • ZocDoc
    The well-known site ZocDoc has a free app that enables you to find a doctor in your insurance network right from your phone. The app also includes patient reviews, and lets you book an appointment from your phone.

    Available for free download for iPhone and Android.
  • Health Insurance Company Apps
    Many health insurance companies have their own apps, with features ranging from helping you find in-network health professionals to allowing you to view your health insurance ID card from your phone. The Aetna app, for instance, provides directions to your doctor's office, while the Cigna app allows you to compare drug costs.

    Availability of apps dependent on the company.
  • eHealth
    Health insurance broker eHealth has an app that can help you find local doctors, as well as find and compare health plans via its Better Health Plan Finder, which is a "mobile health insurance exchange. The app also comes with a glossary to help you figure out all those confusing health insurance terms.

    Available for free download for iPhone and Android.
  • iTriage
    iTriage is unique for its "Symptom-to-Provider" pathway. You can put in your symptoms (for instance, "red eyes") and it will bring up a list of options for you to choose from: where to find medical help in your vicinity, descriptions of possible conditions, treatment methods, tests and more.

    Available for free download for iPhone and Android.
  • Hula
    If you need to find a place to get tested for a sexually transmitted disease, this app can help. Hula can help you find the right place to get tested based on your preferences (proximity, hours of operation, levels of testing, etc.). But that's not all: The app also enables you to share the results of those tests with whomever you choose.

    Available for free download for iPhone.
  • Vitals
    If patient reviews are important to you, this app could be useful in your search for a doctor. You can search for doctors on the Vitals app by your condition (what ails you) or the kind of specialist you're looking for, and Vitals provides you with contact and location information for the best-reviewed doctors from its database.

    Available for free download for iPhone.
  • BetterDoctor
    BetterDoctor is a doctor-finding app that takes into account doctors' backgrounds, including years of experience, peer referrals, patient feedback and medical school ranking.

    Available for free download for iPhone.
  • HealthTap
    Through HealthTap, you can get a free, quick answer to your medical question -- from a real doctor. The app provides information on other doctor-recommended apps and can help you find a doctor in your area. For a fee, you can send private, direct messages to doctors.

    Available for free download for iPhone and Android.
  • AskMD
    There's a wide range of symptom-checkers out there -- some more reliable than others, and none of which can replace actual guidance from a doctor -- but the AskMD app goes a step further by summarizing your symptoms (so you can easily show them to your doctor) and helping to connect you to a local doctor covered by your insurance.

    Available for free download for iPhone.
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