One of the frustrating things about health care in the United States is its inaccessibility. Between location and cost, it’s often quite difficult to get not only the care you need but access to a professional who can help guide you on how to care for yourself.

Enter: American Well.

american-well

An app that allows you to meet with a primary care physician or dietitian, American Well will put you in direct immediate contact with who you need to help you get insight into what ails you. Whereas most people find themselves going to the emergency room to get answers to simple care questions, American Well connects you to a licensed, board certified practicing doctor for what amounts to the cost of a co-pay for some.

Which means, no, they’re not free, although they very well may be covered by your health insurance provider if you have an Aetna, Cigna, or United Healthcare plan, among others. Amwell will provide you with 10 minutes of access to a physician or dietitian for $49, and if you need additional time, many offer it at an additional low cost. (If you check out AmWell using my discount code FITFORLIFE, your first visit is only $1, though! Tell ’em Erika sent you!)

I’m generally in awe of the service. I spoke with a dietitian who I asked questions about eating healthily while breastfeeding, and she was knowledgeable and kind, sharing her own experiences with nursing and eating healthily. The visit was short, but the doctor was attentive and focused and that was exactly what I needed. Considering the kinds of issues that compel people to visit the emergency room anyway, I suspect this is the kind of care most people need, anyway.

After doing some digging around, I found that the doctors on AmWell do offer prescriptions for certain kinds of care, and will advise patients to see a physician at a nearby facility for other kinds. AmWell and its care providers are HIPPA-compliant, and no patient data is shared without patient compliance.

Honestly, I’m thankful for apps like this, for taking health care in a direction that makes it more readily accessible to the everyday person. This alleviates crowding and improves the quality of care in emergency rooms where genuinely urgent matters are managed. These kinds of apps—referred to as “telehealth care”—help people connect with care providers instead of walking away from WebMD believing that the persistent sneeze they have is, well, cancerous. And, what’s more, people like me who catch crazy things like the flu can get insight into how to care for ourselves without walking into a room full of people and unintentionally infecting them.

The AmWell app is advancing the way we get health care, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Amwell.