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HealthTap review for telemedicine doctors

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One of the ways I’ve earned a bit of extra income over the past few years is with online telehealth platforms. I’ve come across a number of reviews of various online telemedicine providers that are geared toward patients, though I haven’t had much luck finding information online about them from the physician’s perspective. So I thought I’d write a post about the platform I’ve had the most experience with – HealthTap.

Note:  HealthTap is not sponsoring this post. These are my opinions only.

HealthTap is a telehealth platform, plus more

HealthTap was founded in 2010 and offers a couple of services to patients online:

  • One-on-one consults with physicians, for a fee

Those who are concerned about health complications can get a medical opinion in the privacy and comfort of their home after completing a few payment steps. 

  • Answers to health-related medical questions, for free

Users can access a selection of general medical questions at no additional fee. This free service is, however, limited to certain medical topics.

Physicians can get credentialed with HealthTap in order to:

  • Have one-on-consults with patients, and get paid

By registering as a physician consultant on HealthTap, physicians can begin enjoying a secondary income instantly. It is a great way to earn an active income while making a difference in the lives of many people hoping to connect with a doctor network. 

  • Answer user-submitted questions, to increase their visibility

(And just because it’s enjoyable, interesting, and feels good to help people.)

Nothing is more terrifying than feeling that something is wrong with your health. However, people aren’t always in the position to visit a physician. It could be that they live in a remote area, lack the financial means, or have responsibilities that prevent them from seeing a doctor. This is why HealthTap is such an extraordinary platform. It offers patients the opportunity to talk to a doctor 24/7. In addition, patients have several options for doctors depending on their health complications or concern. Current patients can enjoy benefits such as follow-up questions. Lastly, physicians are allowed to write prescriptions or order lab tests for patients who are residing in the US. 

There are a few things a person should consider before joining HealthTap as a patient. These include:

  • Is my condition something that doesn’t require me to get emergency medical attention right now? 
  • Am I willing to discuss my health concerns with a doctor on the platform? 
  • WIll I be willing to follow the advice of the doctor once it has been received? 
  • Do I have the means to get medicine or tests done if a physician recommends them? 
  • Can I afford to pay for the service if my health condition is not covered in the free section? 

By asking these questions, someone can determine whether HealthTap is a good fit before even filling out the patient forms. Although online medical services offer incredible convenience, they are not ideal for everyone. People who prefer to see a doctor in-person might find that a remote medicinal service lacks that personal touch. However, others might enjoy the fact that the consultations are virtual. 

In addition to being a wonderful platform for patients, HealthTap offers top-notch gigs for doctors. By taking advantage of direct patient telemedicine, HealthTap provides an amazing activity for doctors that allows them to charge fees to patients that are received safely. This chat-based patient encounter service gives doctors the flexibility to choose their own hours. Not only does HealthTap provide a flexible schedule, but it also offers opportunities for doctors to improve their medical communications and telemedicine experience. 

If a physician is considering becoming a part of HealthTap, it is good to consider these questions first:

  • Are you willing to discuss the health of patients on a virtual platform? 
  • Can you afford to spend time on this platform? 
  • Is the experience of telemedicinal services enough to satisfy me if my earnings are low? This question is important since it might take some time for a physician to start making money on HealthTap.
  • Do I have enough patience to deal with patients who might not feel comfortable discussing their concerns at first? 
  • Am I effective in medical communications? Some doctors struggle to explain medical concepts to people who aren’t doctors. However, this is an essential part of being successful on HealthTap.

By asking these questions, a physician can get an idea of whether HealthTap is the right telemedicinal platform. If a physician still feels excited to take on the new opportunity after asking these questions, the next step would be to complete the registration process. 

This platform offers a great way for patients and doctors to connect in a safe and user-friendly environment. 

Getting started with HealthTap as a physician

I’ve been using HealthTap since June 2014, after an ad came to my email box saying that I could work “at the cutting-edge of digital health” and “use the latest health technology to help patients live healthier happier lives.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? I signed up.

Right away, I was able to start participating in a brilliant marketing strategy that really sets HealthTap apart from other telehealth companies:  offering health tips and answers to health-related questions free to their users. The physician interface includes a seemingly endless wall of questions submitted by the general public.

HealthTap doctors are invited to answer these questions in 400 characters or less, without providing a personal diagnosis or giving medical advice – ie these answers do not qualify as “the practice of medicine.”

Here are a few examples:

No matter what activity you’re participating in on  HealthTap, you rack of points, rankings, badges, and trophies. Currently, in fitting with my preventive medicine focus, it appears that I’m most “known” for:

  • Wellness and lifestyle

Although wellness and lifestyle are both important elements of health, they might not be the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks of health. 

  • Fitness and exercise

Once again, these factors are both important for health, but few view people come to telemedicinal platforms for questions about fitness or exercise. This means that patients would not always ask a doctor who has been labeled as a doctor who can offer help regarding wellness, lifestyle, fitness, and exercise. 

This is based on the types of questions I answer, “agrees” from doctors that I’ve received, checklists I’ve written, etc.

I can’t claim to know how the algorithm works for assigning paying consults to physicians. However, it’s seemed to me over the years that the more active I am on the website answering questions and interacting within the portal, the more paid consults I have available to me.

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Some HealthTap doctors are absolute maniacs, as evidenced by the image above. The calculations of “People Helped” are clearly questionable… but my point here is that there are doctors who probably spend most of their free time answering questions on this site. I’ve answered a couple hundred questions total in the past ~2 years, and this guy answered 105 in one week! You don’t receive compensation for simply answering questions, so this suggests it is really a hobby for some doctors, in addition to a side hustle. Here are a few other initiatives I’ve seen I’ve seen on HealthTap that are aimed at making the system user-friendly and entertaining:

  • Top Doctor competitions

These competitions give doctors that go the extra mile the opportunity to be recognized for their dedication and patient relations. Although these competitions might not affect the rate of a doctor, they will most likely improve the number of patients who would like to consult the doctor virtually.

  • Monthly webinars with the CMO or other medical leadership

Webinars are effective tools for spreading medical knowledge and awareness about common health complications. However, people often overlook the value of these phenomenal services. 

  • Patients can send you thank you notes

Of course, doctors provide a service to patients because, as doctors, it is their goal to keep their patients healthy. However, it is nice for doctors to feel appreciated. 

  • National Doctors Day celebrations

I even got a letter from the CMO in the mail and a certificate when I “placed” in one of the top doc competitions. It is nice touches like these that set HealthTap apart from other telemedicinal platforms.

The best parts of HealthTap

Here are the main features that make my time spent on HealthTap worth it to me:

  • Great customer service. They are always very responsive if you have a problem. They’ve also reached out to me on several occasions just to ask how things are going. It is this kind of patient care that makes HealthTap an extraordinary medical provider. Not only do they offer an incredibly convenient service, they also share amazing content on health regularly. 
  • The user interface is easy to use. These days we don’t want to spend hours trying to figure out who to navigate your way through a comprehensive health program. Instead, you hope to find a platform that can allow you to be in contact with a consulting physician within minutes. This way those who have health concerns can get answers and ask follow-up questions. 
  • The company is clearly putting a lot of resources into developing an AI aspect to delivering telemedicine, which I think is great.
  • Anyone who hopes to find a reliable, safe, and straightforward AI-based telehealth platform will love HealthTap. They offer amazing medical provider education, consulting opportunities, and information about healthcare practices. 
  • They will do a lot to assist you in building up my your practice, if you have the desire, such as giving you tips on how to advertise or allowing you to write a post for their blog.
  • Physicians who hope to gain clinical practice experience by embracing virtual patient encounters. They can receive guaranteed, safe payments from patients, and several medical gig opportunities. 
  • I like being able to use the platform when I have the time, and not needing to commit to shifts. There is definitely more schedule flexibility than other telemedicine systems I’ve tried. That means that physicians who hope to earn an extra income with telemedicine should really consider HealthTap. 

Of note, HealthTap may not be for you if you really need long-term relationships with your patients, or if you thrive of off diagnosing and treating medical enigmas. Many consults are one-offs, and most are straight-forward, common problems.

Things that could be improved with HealthTap

My biggest gripe with HealthTap is some physicians who simply aren’t good at telemedicine and take advantage of being able to earn a quick $30 for minimal work. For example, responding to a consult with “You need to see your doctor in person,” without any other recommendations or insight. I don’t believe this problem is specific to the HealthTap platform, though I do feel that their system makes it particularly easy for physicians to do a poor job without any repercussion. Continuity of care can be difficult. There is no good way that I’ve come across to follow-up on patients or their test results without them taking the initiative to make a new appointment. When I ask patients to follow up and they don’t do it, I don’t have the ability to reach back out to them. It is also a challenge to get a good grasp of what other doctors on HealthTap have discussed with the patient or recommended to them in previous encounters. Occasionally there’s some programming issues. For example, I’ve received duplicate consults from the same patients, had trouble getting my consult to end when I try to close it out, and failed to have a prescription get through to the pharmacy. Customer services has always helped me out, though.

HealthTap ratings from a physician perspective

As with most things online, a physician’s experience on HealthTap really depends on expectations of earnings, interactions with patients, and the number of hours spent. With that, I’ll go ahead and give you my personal, biased, and somewhat arbitrary ratings of HealthTap from a physician perspective. Have you used HealthTap? Let me know about your own experience in the comments below!

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