With the help of a smartphone, tablet or computer you can now get help for your symptoms without leaving your sofa thanks to a virtual visit to the doctor.
The rise of the online GP
It’s not always easy to get an appointment to see your doctor on a day or time that suits you.
Ringing up your surgery. Hanging on hold. Having to take an appointment that means juggling your schedule or taking time off work.
And when you’re ill, peeling yourself out of bed might be difficult, or you might have mobility issues, or young children to herd out the door, or another reason why an in-person appointment is difficult to attend. That’s where a virtual appointment might help.
How does a digital GP consultation work?
A virtual doctor’s appointment is very similar to an in-person one. You book a date and time for your consultation, but you meet face-to-face over video instead. With our virtual GP service, appointments are available 24/7 and you could get one in as little as 30 minutes – even if it’s late at night.
During your appointment, you’ll be able to describe your symptoms and show the doctor any physical issues, like a rash. They’ll be able to ask you questions to dig down and discover what the problem is. They can even prescribe medication, a fit note, or onward referral if needed.
The specifics of how you book your appointment or how long you’ll have to wait to get one will vary depending on the digital GP service you use. But often you’ll be able to book a video consultation at a time that works best for you and pick from a range of appointments.
You might also benefit from other features like choosing a specific doctor, receiving a reminder about your appointment, or getting written notes after it. You’ll need to check the details of your chosen digital GP service to see what they offer.
Preparing for your virtual doctor’s appointment
To help your video consultation go smoothly, you can prepare by:
- Testing your technology to make sure your camera, audio and internet connection is working.
- Making sure your device is fully charged or plugged in.
- Tucking yourself away in a quiet, well-lit place where you won’t be disturbed and where you’ll be comfortable speaking about your symptoms.
- Jotting down anything you want to tell your doctor, like your symptoms, or any burning questions you have. With some services, you might be able to do this ahead of your appointment, so your GP already has the information.
- Gathering any medications you’re currently on and having them close by so you can read the labels if you need to. With some services, you might be able to keep your medical history and current medication up to date in your account, so both you and your GP have access to this information.
Digital doctors and prescriptions
Following your virtual GP appointment, your doctor can prescribe medication if it’s needed. How you receive this medication may vary depending on your chosen digital GP service. Normally you can pick it up at your local pharmacy, or you might be able to get it dropped through your letterbox.
Getting an appointment with Aviva Digital GP
With our health insurance you get access to the Aviva Digital GP app, provided by Square Health. This gives you, and anyone else on your policy, five video consultations per policy year with an NHS-registered private GP. All at no extra cost. If you’ve got children under 16, you can even add them to your account to share your allowance of five video consultations each year.
Using the Aviva Digital GP app, you can book an appointment 24/7 with most available on the same day. In fact, you could secure one in as little as 30 minutes. The time slot with your selected GP will then last up to 15 minutes.
Once you’ve wrapped up your appointment, they’ll be able to give you a private prescription if needed, which might come with a charge, that you’ll be able to collect from a pharmacy or have delivered to your home, office or other chosen location.
The Aviva Digital GP app also allows you to:
- See each GP’s personal biography, gender and specialities – so you can pick the person who’s right for you. You can also search for a doctor you’ve previously seen in the last six months to check if they’re available again.
- Get an SMS text reminder 10 minutes before your appointment starts.
- Check what was said in your appointment and any advice you got.
- Order repeat prescriptions in-app (NHS England exemptions apply) to be sent to your home free of charge.
- Request a fit note (sometimes called a sick note) if you’re too ill to work.