Telehealth and online doctors’ appointments seem to be here to stay, and we’re here for it, to say the least. Dragging your sick kiddo to wait in a doctor’s office while they’re already miserable? No one’s idea of a good time. Now, you can dial up a pediatrician for a virtual visit from the comfort of your living room—no waiting-room distraction techniques required.
Talking to a pediatrician virtually can help you rest easier when your little one comes down with a fever or a cold, or pinpoint a possible cause for that rash that just appeared out of nowhere. And because babies and kids don’t always (read: rarely) get sick between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, telehealth visits are a helpful tool. Especially when those after-hours illnesses strike.
It’s important to note that all of these platforms see adult patients, too. Due to the pandemic, routine medical visits for people of all ages are down across the board, and it makes sense why. But being proactive about your childrens’ health—and your own—isn’t something that should be put off for another year. Telehealth platforms offer easier access to care when you need it.
We’ve selected our favorite pediatric telehealth platforms that prioritize parental convenience, solve a need and are simple to use.
The game-changer: TytoCare
TytoCare is changing the landscape of telehealth, allowing virtual doctors an actual glimpse into what’s going on more than ever before. Now you can be the one to check your child’s ears, nose, throat and more and send those findings in real time to a board-certified physician. Featuring a palm-sized, hand-held exam camera, you can use the included stethoscope or tongue depressor attachments to stream symptoms to a doctor in a 1:1 virtual appointment.
“As a mother of five and a pediatric nurse practitioner, I have used the TytoCare device both for my family and for my patients at my previous practice,” says Amy Verlsteffen, senior director of clinical transformation. “This innovative technology simply bridges the gap between an in-office visit and a traditional telemedicine video visit. Having the ability to provide a fully remote, comprehensive medical exam is a game-changer for accessible healthcare.”
Why we love it: TytoCare gives you the ability to send real symptoms and data points to a clinician, helping them make a more informed decision about your care. It’s really easy to use, and you’ll be able to get a diagnosis and/or prescription in minutes—no office visit necessary.
Why it’s good for mamas, too: If your kiddo’s ear infection passed on to you, you can send your symptoms to a doc, too. The TytoCare home exam kit can be used for both kids and adults and comes complete with both adult- and child-sized ear attachments.
What it costs: TytoCare is free if your insurance covers telehealth visits. If your plan doesn’t cover telehealth, the copay is usually under $59. If you have an HSA or FSA, it can be used to purchase the TytoCare device.
One app to suit everyone: Maven
Designed especially for women and families, the Maven platform is centered around family building—and raising. Featuring fertility awareness educators, midwives, lactation consultants and sleep coaches, Maven aims to stay with you from conception through birth and beyond, as they also offer access to pediatricians, behavioral therapists and parenting coaches.
“Our specialized network includes more than 30 types of providers representing more than 350 subspecialties in women’s and family health,” says Kate Ryder, founder and CEO of Maven. “That means, for the million and one questions on everything from COVID vaccination to behavioral issues to parents’ own feelings of burnout, Maven is able to provide the compassionate support and evidence-backed guidance parents sorely need every day, but especially right now.”
Why we love it: With appointments 24 hours a day, seven days a week and an average wait-time for a same-day appointment that’s just 27 minutes, Maven makes it easier than ever to get your most pressing, middle-of-the-night questions answered quickly. Having round-the-clock access to a pediatrician and lactation consultant is a major boon for parents.
Why it’s good for mamas, too: Maven helps you prioritize your own healthcare, also, which can often get pushed to the bottom of the list when you’ve got littles. With access to OBGYNs, doulas, career coaches and mental health therapists, it’s your one-stop-shop for all *your* personal wellness needs—no multiple apps needed.
What it costs: If you sign up as an individual, you’ll pay per video appointment, which generally cost less than most office copays. Rates range from $20 for a midwife appointment to $120 for a doctorate-level mental health provider. If Maven is sponsored by your employer, your visits will be fully covered and free of charge for you and your partner.
Ideal for busy parents: Alpha Medical
Alpha Medical is built around asynchronous care, using a messaging platform to create a dialogue with doctors, which means no need to try and schedule an appointment for your sick little one when you’ve barely got time to get breakfast on the table, and no waiting for a call back from your kid’s pediatrician when you’ve got back-to-back meetings all day.
“Alpha’s asynchronous model takes convenience to a new level,” says Gloria Lau, cofounder and CEO of Alpha Medical. “Now, busy parents can answer medical questions about their symptoms from their phone, at their convenience, and then an Alpha provider will respond with a diagnosis and treatment plan. Even prescriptions are shipped directly to their home so they can avoid the dreaded pharmacy lines.”
Why we love it: Alpha offers true convenience if you want hands-on care in a hands-off manner. There’s no app to download—all messaging happens via the Alpha website (through an encrypted platform), and a doctor or nurse will review your submissions within 24 hours—or within 8 hours if it’s urgent.
Why it’s good for mamas, too: If you’ve been putting off that primary care appointment but have a nagging question, Alpha offers lots of flexibility. All of their providers are board-certified and trained in women’s health, and they can diagnose more than 60 different conditions. They also offer therapy.
What it costs: With three different options, you can choose whether you want to pay for just a single visit ($15 to $30), pay quarterly for all-inclusive visits ($40 for three months), or annually ($120/year).