How A Health App Actually Helped Me Get The Diagnosis And Treatment I Needed
Let’s face it–feeling sick is awful. And it only gets more awful the moment you realize that, yes, you do actually need to go to the doctor because guess what, all the water and Advil (in proper doses, of course) you’ve been taking just isn’t cutting through the despair of sickness.
Remember the days when doctors would visit you rather than you having to take your sick self out into the world, infecting everyone along the way? Yeah, me either. But, thankfully, we all live at a time when technology has literally brought the entire world to our fingertips and has gotten to know us really well in the process — both inside and out. From fingerprint and face scanners to stored banking information, we’re able to lay back and enjoy those Tuesday evening spur-of-the-moment shopping sprees while also balancing our bank accounts and sharing cat gifs with friends and family. And, yes, the time has come when healthcare, too, is simply one, well, a few button-taps away. And I couldn’t be more thankful.
Now, let’s go back to a few weeks ago…
…when I became one of the lucky 250,000 people in the US to develop a kidney infection every year (spoiler: it’s not fun).
Of course, while lying in bed with a heating pad on my side wondering why my body was betraying me, I had no idea what the issue really was. And being the hypochondriac that I am, my anxious mind had a field day. Could it be gallstones? My appendix? A really bad ulcer? Or something so rare I don’t even know its name?
Rather than indulge myself with a WebMD-sponsored panic attack, I decided to check out a health app I had heard about called K Health.
The app lets you input your exact symptoms with a lot of detail, asking you questions about the symptom severity along the way. It then gives you a likely diagnosis and potential treatment options. And if you’re like me and still aren’t too sure about what to do next, you chat in real time with a real doctor about the next steps, including prescriptions, tests, and other treatment.
I drowsily downloaded the app, which happened to be free in the app store — another huge plus for my budget.
And after a few introductory questions, it was ready to share all my health woes.
It begins with a handy drop-down menu presenting a seemingly endless number of symptoms to choose from. I started with a vague description of my most damning symptom: painful urination. Anyone who’s had a UTI before knows that this is the first thing to look out for, and that–when caught early enough–you can avoid getting into the situation I had found myself in. Of course, I wanted to be sure this wasn’t also the symptom of something else, so I continued my conversation with K Health.
As I continued to describe the symptoms I was experiencing (accompanied by some rather cute graphics along the way!) I made it to the final phase.
Based on the information I shared, the app showed me that my symptoms, combined with information they had about thousands of other women like me who had experienced these symptoms, suggested I had pyelonephritis (which is basically a UTI that has ascended to the kidneys, AKA a kidney infection). I had a feeling, deep down, that this might be the case, but there was something really validating about having a simple, intuitive app give me the information and diagnosis I needed.
“Of course I’d get a kidney infection,” I thought to myself.
Accompanying my diagnosis were the words “Serious Health Condition” in bolded red letters, so I immediately worried that I’d need to brave the world outside and track down the nearest urgent care, in hopes that they also happen to accept my insurance.
But as I continued scrolling down, I noticed that I had the option to talk with a doctor in real time through their Primary Care membership option.
This is convenient not only because it allows you to chat with a doctor to get a full diagnosis, prescriptions, or tests whenever you need them, but the first three months of the membership are totally FREE. Plus I could avoid the chaos involved in visiting the urgent care clinic while also being able to continue enjoying the comfort of my heating pad.
I decided to give it a go.
I agreed to a few clauses and entered some additional personal information. And then, just like that, I had a doctor on the line ready to help me.
The doctor asked me a few more questions and confirmed the diagnosis of kidney infection, as suggested by the app, was in fact what I had. They then went on to make sure that my symptoms weren’t indicative of any allergies or STDs, at which point we discussed a few treatment options.
The doctor I worked with suggested antibiotics as the best and most common treatment option for my kidney infection, and offered to send the prescription for them directly to my preferred pharmacy. I was a little worried that I should still go to urgent care, so I asked the doctor if they recommended I do so.
They suggested that I try out the antibiotics and, if my symptoms didn’t improve, I could return to the chat for additional advice.
And this, I have to admit, was really comforting.
It’s hard enough to get a doctor’s appointment these days, so the idea that I would be able to follow up with the same doctor — at whatever moment I needed from my phone — to discuss my care options was really unlike any other healthcare situation I had been in before.
Thankfully, the antibiotics did the trick, and within a day or two I felt mostly back to normal. I was able to receive a diagnosis and treatment through a simple, intuitive health app on my phone without leaving the house, which is a luxury I hadn’t imagined would be possible. Since then, like any app lover, I’ve gone in and shared more of my personal health history with K Health to ensure that the future diagnoses I receive are as accurate as possible.
So, next time you’re feeling under the weather or totally out of sorts, download K Health to get the help you need, and a little piece of mind in the process.
(If you find yourself in what you feel might be an emergency situation, please instead make your way to the hospital.)