Book an appointment Feather-communication-phone
How Does a Virtual Doctor Visit Work?

Blog Online Doctor

How Does a Virtual Doctor Visit Work?

writtenByWritten by: Dr. Umer Khan
Dr. Umer Khan

Dr. Umer Khan

Medically reviewed by Dr Umer Khan, MD who is a Board Certified physician practicing in Pennsylvania. His special interests include wellness, longevity and medical IT.

Read more posts by this author.

December 10, 2020 Read Time - 8 minutes

What are Virtual Doctors?

Virtual doctors are board certified doctors who choose to practice online via video and phone appointments, rather than in person appointments.

They are just as qualified as regular doctors you see in person and many virtual doctors conduct both in person and virtual consultations. 

Virtual doctors differ from platform to platform. While some people may hesitate to use a virtual doctor app, there is little concern when it comes to virtual doctor visits.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

How Does a Virtual Doctor Visit Work?

A virtual doctor visit at PlushCare involves three simple steps: making an appointment, talking with your physician, and picking up your prescription.

Most virtual doctor apps will require you to register an account before your appointment to help provide doctors with necessary information and maintain contact with physicians and supporting staff.

Some services include apps for easy mobile access when you’re on the go.


At PlushCare, our board certified doctors are trained at one of the top 25 medical institutions in the country, including Stanford, Harvard, UCLA, and UCSF.


This ensures patients get quality care from knowledgeable medical professionals. It’s all about eliminating stress and building peace of mind for you when you seek care.


Meet our doctors, here.


What Can a Virtual Doctor Treat?

Virtual doctors can treat a wide range of conditions, including mental health issues.

Here are some of PlushCare’s most commonly treated conditions:

Primary Care Conditions:


Urgent Care (non-emergency) Conditions:



Related: Online Doctor Prescription


  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Can Virtual Doctors Prescribe Antibiotics?

Yes, online doctors can prescribe antibiotics! In fact, antibiotics are one of the most commonly prescribed medications. Minor bacterial infections can be easily diagnosed and prescribed online.

Before writing you a prescription for antibiotics the virtual doctor will confirm you have a bacterial infection by listening to your symptoms, medical history, and asking you questions.

After determining your diagnosis the virtual doctor will prescribe you the best antibiotic for your condition. They will electronically send this prescription to the pharmacy of your choice, where you can pick it up at your convenience.

If the doctor is unable to confirm your infection is bacterial they will write you a lab order and refer you to a lab for testing. Your results will be sent back to the virtual doctor who will then be able to diagnose you and come up with a treatment plan.


Related: Get Antibiotics Online


Can a Doctor Prescribe Medicine Without Seeing You?

It is illegal for any doctor to prescribe medication without first having a consultation with the patient who will be receiving the prescription.

That said, modern technology means you don’t necessarily have to “see” a doctor, in the traditional sense.

You can safely and legally get prescribed many medications online via video chat, and in some states, over the phone.

These virtual appointments are a great way to receive convenient and affordable care for all non-emergency conditions.

Virtual doctors can write prescriptions and prescription refills for all non controlled substances, following an online consultation.

To maintain safety when prescribing online, online doctors will:

  • Determine all your current medical conditions, including your drug history and current prescriptions as well as over-the-counter medications that you may be using.
  • Identify what’s causing your current condition and perform a thorough examination of your health.
  • Make sure that your condition presents enough justification to actually prescribe medication.
  • Rule out the possibility of any contraindications, which refers to any situation where the medication may actually cause harm to you, either based on personal health or interactions with other medications and lifestyle habits. PlushCare prevents negative medication interactions by having patients enter past and current medications, as well as allergies, into our high-tech software program. This technology eliminates the possibility of human error by preventing the doctor from prescribing any medications that could be harmful.

Keeping patients safe is a doctor’s responsibility. They should be able to fully explain the prescription process and give you reasons for choosing a certain medication over others.


Online Doctors cannot currently prescribe controlled substances, including:

  • Medicinal marijuana
  • Antipsychotic medications such as Zyprexa, Risperdol
  • Stimulants, including Adderall and Ritalin
  • Narcotics, like morphine, oxycodone, and Vicodin
  • Sedatives and sleep aids, including Xanax, Ambien, Ativan, and Lunesta

Telehealth is not appropriate for serious conditions that require immediate attention or emergency care. If you experience any life-threatening issues, call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately.


While laws surrounding online prescriptions are constantly evolving, the Federation of State Medical Boards, a national non-profit organization that promotes good medical practices and regulations, continues to push for policies that allow online doctors to write prescriptions as long as they meet certain technical and clinical criteria.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

How Much Does a Virtual Doctor Visit Cost?

How much a virtual doctor visit costs will depend on which telehealth platform you use.

Some platforms don’t accept health insurance and may be more expensive, others may have an ongoing subscription fee. Do your research before selecting a telehealth provider to ensure it’s a good fit for your needs.

At PlushCare we accept patients with and without insurance. With insurance you will only pay your typical office visit copay.


The average insured patient pays less than $25 for an appointment.


If you don’t have health insurance that’s ok, we charge a fee of $119. This is much less than the average cost of an urgent care clinic or an emergency room visit.

You can also become a PlushCare member for just $14.99 a month and have unlimited access to our top medical professionals, including messaging services.

Our service was designed to help those with and without health insurance. We offer affordable co-pays for those who cannot afford or do not currently have health insurance.


Related: Doctors For Patients Without Insurance


What is the Best Online Doctor?

The best online doctor will vary depending on the patient’s needs. Many online doctor services specialize in one area, such as birth control or ED prescriptions.

At PlushCare, we do it all! Our top doctors can provide both primary and urgent care and treat patients in all 50 states, and Washington D.C. Our doctors are all graduates from the top 50 U.S. medical schools and have an average of 15 years experience. They truly are the best of the best.

97% of conditions are treated on the first visit here at PlushCare, and we have nearly 5 stars on yelp.

If the doctor is unable to treat you they will refer you to someone who can and your appointment will be free. With service like this, we can be really proud of the care we offer!


Virtual doctors and HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which was passed in 1996, was developed as a means of creating regulations that protected a patient’s privacy and health information.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule established national standards that protected your health information. The Security Rule extends those same standards to digital health records.

Considering the ease of access and growing cyber threats, any reputable online doctors and telehealth providers should openly state that they comply with HIPAA.


PlushCare is HIPAA compliant and uses private electronic health record systems to keep all medical records safe.


Furthermore, PlushCare’s staff undergoes specific training to ensure protection of patient information. This applies to all databases and web platforms that PlushCare uses as well.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Booking an Appointment and Talking to Your Virtual Doctor

Schedule an appointment with a doctor of your choice by visiting our booking page, or calling (888) 660-5348.

While scheduling an appointment, you will be asked to sign in or, if you’re a new patient, create a profile.

You can set up your payment options and insert your health insurance information, if you have it.

PlushCare aims to give you complete control over your own schedule and needs, whether you need a same-day appointment or want to plan ahead, you’ll have the option to select your appointment time and the doctor of your choice.

At your appointment time, you will either join a video chat via our website or app or the virtual doctor will call you on the phone (if your state allows telephone consultations and you’ve selected this appointment type).

Online conversations are considered your actual “visit,” during which time you should feel free to speak to your doctor about what is bothering you and ask any questions you may have.


The average virtual doctors appointment at PlushCare takes only 10 to 15 minutes.


At the end of this consultation, your virtual doctor will provide a diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan for your condition. Any necessary medications may also be prescribed.

PlushCare is dedicated to giving you an affordable, convenient healthcare experience.

Picking Up Your Prescriptions

If you do require prescriptions, your doctor will send them electronically to a pharmacy of your choice. You can pick these up at your convenience.

PlushCare doctors can provide up to 90 days of a prescription for any FDA-approved medications.

PlushCare doctors will generally prescribe any medication they deem will help to improve your health.

Give virtual doctor visits a try today and book an online appointment here.


Read More About How Virtual Doctor Visits Work


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Onlinemedicalcare.org. Guide for how to get prescriptions online. Accessed April 12, 2020 at https://onlinemedicalcare.org/a-guide-for-how-to-get-prescriptions-online/

Harvard Health Publishing. Need an appointment right away? Consider a Virtual Doctor Visit. Accessed April 12, 2020 at https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/need-an-appointment-pronto-consider-a-virtual-doctors-visit-2016091610206

 

 

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

Our commitment to you.

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

  • right Tick Image

    Research from sources you can trust

  • right Tick Image

    Medical reviews by field experts

  • right Tick Image

    Frequent content updates

More to learn.

Top Telehealth Apps of 2021

Top Telehealth Apps of 2021

Top Telehealth Apps of 2021 for COVID-19 and Beyond Can you do telehealth from home? Are telemedicine visits cheaper? How…

Jennifer Nelson 7 minutes
Can You Get a Catapres Prescription Online?

Can You Get a Catapres Prescription Online?

Can You Get a Catapres Prescription Online? Centrally acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agents are drugs that help manage blood pressure. They…

Dr. Heidi Lightfoot 5 minutes
Cigna Virtual Care

Cigna Virtual Care

Cigna Virtual Care – How Telemedicine Helps You Telemedicine is remote medicine – using modern technology and solutions to transform…

Dr. Heidi Lightfoot 4 minutes