First Opinion is an app that lets you have text message conversations with licensed physicians across the country. That’s great if you need quick preventative care tips, or if you’re looking for home remedies that actually work. But, if you need to deliver a baby, that’s fine, too.
According to app lore, Andrea Johnson of Louisiana lived three hours from the nearest hospital when she went into early labor. Her husband, James, decided to use a smartphone app in the time of crisis, which normally might not be the best idea, but it worked out here. Thanks to a lengthy series of text exchanges with a doctor using First Opinion, James was able to deliver their child successfully. Hopefully he washed his phone’s screen at some point after that joyous occasion.
It’s not altogether unreasonable that James would look to First Opinion. Although the app now offers general medical advice to anyone, it was originally conceived as a way for expectant and new mothers to receive tips and medical information about pregnancy and child care. The app has expanded since then, although it still claims that all of the doctors partnered with the app are also mothers themselves.
First Opinion only asks you for your first name and email address. Once that’s done, you’ll get matched with a doctor. From that point on, you can send unlimited messages to your First Opinion doctor about any medical questions you might have. Because it’s conversational, you’ll be able to provide more detailed information, while the doctor can guide the discussion in a productive way. Responses should be fairly quick—the app currently claims that you should hear back from your doctor within five minutes, at any hour of the day. If your doctor is asleep, there will be an assistant doctor taking the graveyard shift, so you’ll always have access. You’ll even get follow-up texts from your doctor, checking in on your health.
As it always is with healthcare apps, First Opinion isn’t a replacement for seeing your doctor. But, it’s a good way to get some quick preventative tips to stay healthy and knock out minor maladies. And, if it does happen to be something more serious, the app’s doctors can probably help you figure out what kind of a doctor you should be seeing, and what to talk about when you do go into the office.
First Opinion is available now for free for iOS. You do have the option of getting a paid account, which will ensure faster responses.