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Future Tech: 

Text-a-doctor app offers instant medical advice

Have your medical consultation at the comfort of your house

Have your medical consultation at the comfort of your house

Health apps and wearable trackers are on the rise for recording our fitness progress. But when it comes down to even the most minor diagnosis, we want to place our trust in a real-life medical expert. Preferably one wearing a white coat.

The First Opinion app aims to bridge that gap between health apps and the experience of visiting a medical practitioner. The app brings you into direct contact with real doctors from all around the world that can provide you with live consultation and medical advice.

The app features a pool of doctors to choose from but before choosing the ideal doctor for your case, you get the chance to browse through a brief bio of their specialty, years of experience, their location and previously answered questions. The app also includes a peer review from another doctor, offering patients a clearer and more insightful picture about the doctor they are about to consult.

If you’re willing to wait 24 hours for an answer, then the service is free of charge. But for those looking for an answer within five minutes, the cost sits at $9 per month, with another option of answers within three minutes for $29 per month.

Each doctor has a bio and ratings from fellow colleagues

Each doctor has a bio and ratings from fellow colleagues

A possible problem with the app can be found in its Terms of Use, specifically, that you won’t be dealing with doctors licensed to practice in the U.S. The company also urges users to avoid using the app during emergency situations, stating, “call 9-1-1 or your own physician or pediatrician if you suspect or have reason to believe an emergency exists…”

In similar fashion, the Terms of Use, declare, “you will not consider the material contained in or transmitted through the App or Services to be medical advice, diagnosis/es, treatment, a prescription, and/or product recommendation.” The app features a great idea but the execution is still a bit patchy.

So, while it may be a starting point for medical advice, First Opinion should be exactly that – your first opinion. The app, currently available only for iOS, is perfect example of why reading the terms and conditions section is always a must.

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