Tag Archives: health care


7 Signs Your Child May be a Type 1 Diabetic

Approximately 8.1 million Americans have undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes, many of whom are children or adolescents. Spotting a child who is diabetic isn’t always as straightforward as one may think. Type 1 diabetes usually has a quick onset, with the initial symptoms appearing in a matter of weeks. Know the signs so you can get your child (or a child you know) help right away if he or she has developed type 1 Diabetes. Major indicators include:

  1. Excessive thirst
  2. Increased urination
  3. Mood or behavioural changes such as irritability or lethargy
  4. Extreme hunger
  5. Sudden or significant weight loss
  6. Sudden vision problems
  7. Yeast infections

Other signs may include rapid breathing or a flushed face. In extreme cases of undiagnosed diabetes, the child may develop an acute, life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Why Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes is Commonly Missed

It is important to know the signs of type 1 juvenile diabetes, as they can be few and subtle. Many parents see their child running to the fridge for more snacks between meals and think they must just be going through a growth spurt. A toddler may be throwing up fruity milk, but perhaps it’s a strange, lingering stomach bug. A teacher may notice a particular student asking to use the washroom or go to the fountain more and just assume the student is simply restless in class. It is so easy to overlook these signs, but failing to recognizing them could be deadly. If you notice your child, a member of a team you coach, a child you babysit or teach is drinking more than the usual amount of fluids, excessively using the washroom or eating more but still losing weight, act fast.

When to Seek Help

If you believe your child is exhibiting the symptoms listed above, it is best to check it out right away. Don’t wait until more serious symptoms start to develop. Most children are diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 13, but type 1 diabetes can develop suddenly at any age. Some parents don’t think there is a need to rush to the doctor when they observe some of the above-mentioned symptoms. They may think to just wait and tell the doctor at the child’s next scheduled check-up, but this can be a grave mistake. Just as the disease often develops quickly, it can also progress just as rapidly. If left unchecked, the child’s blood sugar may elevate to dangerous levels, which can result in serious complications such as diabetic coma, or in extreme cases even death.

What Will the Doctor Do?

Once you express your concerns about diabetes, your child’s doctor will likely perform some tests such as checking the child’s blood sugar level in the office. If she is concerned about the results, your doctor may send your child directly to the hospital where he will be further evaluated and stabilized before being released. The hospital diabetes specialist or pediatrician will likely then explain all about diabetes to your child and show him how to take his medication, blood sugar level, as well as what foods not to eat too much of.

We hope you’ll have your eyes peeled for these signs of juvenile diabetes. Who knows – you may save a young life! Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Telemedicine – A Convenient HealthCare Choice for Winter Problems

Of all seasons, the convenience of telemedicine shines brightest in the winter. Who wants to venture out in the snowy cold to deal with a day of doctor’s appointments or ER waiting rooms when you can see a telemedicine doctor in under 15 minutes? There is no reason to risk a slip-and-fall on the way to the doctor if you can see one from the comfort of your own home. Let’s take a look at some common winter health issues that can easily be treated by telemedicine:

  1. Skin problems – The cold dry air of winter can exacerbate many skin conditions such as eczema and xerosis (extremely dry skin). Sometimes a prescription cream such as a topical corticosteroid is necessary to help winter-related skin flares, but why spend a whole day dealing with a doctor’s appointment or walk-in clinic in the cold when there is another option? You can be connected with a board-certified doctor in minutes who can take a look at your skin via video or photos and prescribe the exact cream you need in minutes flat.
  2. Colds and Respiratory infections – Cold and flu season brings with it more cold germs and infectious bacteria than any other time of year. Do you find you can’t shake the sniffles or worried you may have a sinus infection? Telemedicine can help! Our doctors are emergency experienced and ready to help with any of your sniffling, coughing and sneezing needs!
  3. Too-cold extremities – Do your hands or feet change color in winter and refuse to warm up? You may have Raynaud’s (or another circulation problem), so why not have a telemedicine doc take a look at your skin and deliver a diagnosis along with any necessary treatment? Or, has your skin looked different since you stayed out in the cold too long? If you’re worried you may have gotten a little frostnip (the first stage of frostbite), and want a doctor’s opinion, there’s no quicker or more opportune way to get it than via telemedicine.
  4. Sore throats – If you’ve had a sore throat for a few days and want to make sure you don’t have strep throat or another type of contagious illness, give telemedicine a try. Board certified doctors will look at your photos and look at your throat via high-definition video technology to determine whether you need prescription treatment or not.
  5. Arthritis flares – For reasons not completely explained by medical science, many arthritis sufferers experience flare-ups in the cold winter months. If you’re one of these people, avoid venturing out on the dangerous ice where you could slip and hurt yourself further. Telemedicine doctors can help with chronic condition management, so give it a try today!
  6. Chronic respiratory condition flares – if you have COPD or asthma, you probably find the winter cold to be extremely hard on the lungs. If so, your symptoms likely increase in the winter. Telemedicine doctors can assess your condition and alter your prescription treatment as necessary to help you get through the winter a little easier.

Are you convinced? Give telemedicine a try today! Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you’ll return again soon.







The Importance of Sprain Aftercare

When you sustain a sports related sprain or accidental roll of the ankle, it is tempting to just shrug it off and keep chugging along like nothing has happened. However, there can be serious and even long-term repercussions for taking a laissez faire attitude toward a sprain or strain.

What is a “Sprain”?

A sprained ankle or wrist means the ligaments (bands of tissue that connect your bones together) have been wretched to the point of stretching or even tearing. This can cause significant swelling and bruising, leaving the area around the affected joint painful for days, weeks or longer. You’ve probably heard someone say before that “ligaments take longer to heal than broken bones”, well there is definitely some truth to this maxim. Especially since people who break a bone are often fitted with a cast and therefor have no choice but to let the injury heal properly, whereas sprains and strains are often not casted or allotted adequate healing time.

Poorly Healed Sprains Remain Problematic

Most people don’t seek medical attention to ensure it is in fact a minor sprain, settling with icing the area temporarily and perhaps a day or two of resting before continuing on as normal even if pain and swelling persists. In cases of mild sprains this may be fine, but this minimalist approach to healing is subpar when it comes to more serious sprains. Mishandled sprains create a weak spot that is extra vulnerable to even the slightest future injury. According to Dr. Brian Abelson of Calgary, Canada, “A sprain may also result in damage to other structures. You may also experience damage to connective tissue, tendons, muscles, and even to the bones (possible fractures). This is why it is important to see a medical professional who can determine exactly which structures have been injured, and then provide treatment recommendations”.

Sprain Dos and Don’ts

It can be just as important to avoid certain actions after a sprain as it is to perform helpful ones. Future treatment and long-term discomfort may also be avoided given the proper attention at the time of (and after) the injury.


  • Ice the injury in 10-15 minute intervals a few times daily.
  • Rest as much as possible with your injury elevated.
  • Compressing the injury with medical wrap may help reduce swelling.
  • Have your injury assessed (right away is best, but if you choose to play the waiting game, you should go to the doctor within a couple days if the injury doesn’t improve upon resting and icing).
  • Wear ankle or wrist braces after the injury is healed when engaging in activity like sports to prevent additional damage to the site.


  • Perform any activities (or even weight-bearing) until you know the status of your injury – is it sprained? Just strained? Or perhaps broken?
  • Drink alcohol for at least 72 afters post-injury as it is a blood thinner and may increase swelling or bleeding.
  • Heat the injury – this can also increase swelling, heat is generally better for long-term injuries such as an arthritic joint or chronic back pain, not for immediate, acute injuries (unless directed by a medical professional).
  • Massage a fresh injury – this can cause damage to the newly irritated tissues, muscles and ligaments. Massage may be useful after the injury is healed.

When to See The Doc

If you’ve tried icing and resting for a few days and still have significant swelling and pain, don’t risk pushing it past the point of healing correctly, check your sprain out with a doctor. He or she may order an MRI to determine the extent of damage to your ligaments and tendons and treat the injury accordingly. We only get one body each, no returns or trade-sies – so expend the necessary effort to take care of injuries as best you can so the they don’t follow you. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any health questions, our qualified, board certified physicians are here 24/7/365!

Can Your Fingernails Shine a Light on Your Health?

What could a doctor possibly glean about your health by simply looking at your nails? It turns out, potentially a lot. While nail abnormalities can signify one of the health problems listed below, it is important to remember that in many cases nail deformities are very minor and of no health consequence at all.

  1. Pits on the nails – Little dents or ‘pits’ are a common sign of nail psoriasis. Up to 85% of people with psoriatic arthritis have signs of nail psoriasis like pitting. Pitting can also be symptomatic of other autoimmune conditions (or may just be due to trauma to the nail).
  2. Nail ridges – Vertical nail ridges that run the length of the nail are very common and are not a cause for concern. Horizontal nail ridges, however, may be the result of an underlying health condition such as a skin or systemic disease.
  3. Blue or purple discoloration – Purple colored nails may indicate that someone is a smoker, has poor circulation, or anemia. Purple-bluish nails may be a signal an asthmatic (or person with another lung disease) has low blood-oxygen levels. Discolored nails should not be ignored, talk to your doctor (or one of ours) if your nails are blueish, purple or any other strange color.
  4. Yellow nails – These can be the result of a number of health conditions or may have just been colored by cigarettes or another substance. Yellowish nails could be the result of jaundice, an infection, lymphedema or sinusitis.
  5. Sporadic red or whitish nail discoloration – if your nails and fingertips change white in the cold or red in the heat, you may have a condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon (which often indicates a larger autoimmune problem).
  6. Nail clubbing – this nail condition is marked by a gradual widening of the fingertips and nails that grow downward over the fingertip. It is commonly associated with lung conditions that deplete blood-oxygen levels over time. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can also signify heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, AIDS or liver problems.
  7. White spots on the nails – More often than not, white spots on the nails are harmless. However, very rarely they can point to dehydration or a nail infection.
  8. Brittle, splitting nails – Also known as onychoschizia, easily cracked or split, soft nails are often treated by dermatologists but very rarely signify an underlying medical condition. The vast majority of cases are caused by exposure to harsh chemicals (like in nail polish and remover) or too much or too little moisture.
  9. Spoon-like nails – Koilonychia is the medical term for indented, spoon-shaped nails. They can signify systemic autoimmune diseases like lupus, anemia, or may be the result of an iron surplus.

Again, if you have any of these fingernail characteristics, it does not necessarily mean you have a resulting health condition, but you should have your doctor examine abnormal nails to rule out any underlying issues. Remember, our highly qualified DocChat physicians are around 24/7 to answer any health-related questions you may have for them. Thanks for visiting, we hope you’ll be back again soon!

10 Reasons Why Telemedicine Is Only Now Taking Off


Even though the concept of telemedicine has been floating around for decades, it is only really beginning to soar as of late. Why, if we had this revolutionary concept right underneath our noses, are we just beginning to utilize it? There are many reasons for this, some of which include:

  1. Technological growth is perhaps the primary reason telemedicine is finally getting its due. With all our modern advancements, the digital stage is now set for telemedicine to shine. With faster internet connections, wi-fi available almost anywhere and better software being manufactured, a video conference is as smooth as butter nowadays. Can you imagine having a video chat back when dial-up was commonplace?
  2. Privacy concerns are finally being eradicated. Great strides have been made in the arena of privacy and patient information protection so that people can confidently access online care without the worries that existed years ago. For example, DocChat uses top-tier AES-256 bit encryption which has proven unbreakable.
  3. Reluctance on part of doctors and patients to welcome change and advance with the times has prevented telemedicine from flourishing for decades. Luckily that is finally starting to change.
  4. Obstacles like legality, software development and logistics are only now being ironed out and surmounted. Telemedicine was used broadly before, but now has the potential to be used in very detailed ways that suit patients much better.
  5. Insurance companies like Medicaid are finally opening the door to let telemedicine in. They are beginning to recognize and accept the growing popular demand of telemedicine healthcare.
  6. Smartphones and tablets are opening up possibilities by making healthcare accessible virtually anywhere. Gone are the days of bulky stationary desktops. Now there are telemedicine apps available to allow people to see doctors from anywhere.
  7. Baby boomers are less mobile now and more ‘tech-savvy’ than ever, so even though people think of millennials as the primary users for telemedicine, don’t discount the baby boomers! Older Americans aged 60+ comprise the fastest growing social media demographic, and are getting hip to all kinds of digital trends and opportunities.
  8. The state of the healthcare system has patients frustrated and finally seeking alternatives to crowded germy waiting rooms. People are noticing that certain problems can be circumvented by telemedicine such as travel, wait-times and exposure to germs.
  9. Healthcare costs can be effectively slashed by utilizing telemedicine as well. For example, DocChat video consultations with board certified physicians cost only $50 a pop, with unlimited follow-up for a week! You can avoid travel costs as well as lost work days by using telemedicine.
  10. Triage effectivity. Telemedicine offers an excellent mode of triaging non-critical medical issues. This can cut down on ER congestion countrywide as well as mistakes made by overworked doctors. People are starting to see that they needn’t cart their sick selves all the way to the ER or a clinic to wait around for a prescription that can be obtained in their very own living rooms.

Well that’s our look at why telemedicine was waiting in the wings until now! Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you’ll return again soon.




The Family Check-up Can Be As Easy As Click-Click-Click!

It can be quite the kerfuffle trying to get the whole family ready for the biannual trip to the doctor:

  • One or both parents need to take a weekday off to get there
  • They have to pull the kids out of school
  • Cart the whole bunch to a clinic
  • Sit for hours in a germy waiting room for each to finish their respective appointments!
  • Then to the pharmacy possibly and back home before dark (if you’re lucky).Boy, that’s quite the day. Not to mention the costs associated, which could be quite high. So why not check out the alternative? You can see a DocChat physician anytime 24/7 on any day of the year including holidays. The family doctor’s trip can be conducted in your very own living room in a matter of clicks and minutes!

Some of the perks to telemedicine family check-ups include:

  1. Convenience – the ability to stay home to see a doctor allows you the ability to circumvent obstacles standing in the way of a standard family doctor trip like schedule conflicts, time off, travel, and so on. How convenient would it be to get a video conference ready in your own home after work, after school, when you are all home and ready?
  2. Schedule correlation – between the daily hustles and bustles of a household, it can be hard to find a convenient time during the week for everyone to go to the doctor. With school, extra curriculars, work, errands and other commitments, it can be a challenge to get everything to line up just right. It would certainly take less elbow grease to see the doctor from home!
  3. Travel – your family may need to travel across the city, or farther if you live in a rural area to see a doctor. Travel can be expensive whether you have a car or take the bus, not to mention time consuming.
  4. Cost – Forbes estimates over $22,000 annually per family for healthcare in the United States. When you calculate travel costs, the costs of missing work as well as the doctors visit and prescriptions, you can certainly see where that figure comes from. But it doesn’t have to be that high. DocChat offers consultations with unlimited follow-ups for a week for only $50 per person, not to mention you won’t have to worry about travel or missed work costs.

  5. Wait-times – The American Journal of Managed Care estimates a person will spend an average of 37 minutes traveling to and from their appointment, and an approximate 87 minutes at the doctor’s clinic (this includes the wait time as well as the visit), taking into account the average doctor’s visit takes about 15 minutes, that is a fair bit of waiting around. Telemedicine can slice that wait-time to less than 15 minutes, (DocChat’s guarantee).
  6. Germs – there is no refuting the notion that doctors offices, hospitals and clinics are among the most germ-ridden places around, with people riddled with contagious illnesses constantly filtering in and out. This can be dangerous, especially for young children with undeveloped immune systems. A trip to the doctor for one ailment can have you leaving with an additional health issue. Why not stay in the comfort and cleanliness of your own home to see the doctor?

If you are interested in trying telemedicine for your next biannual family doctor’s visit, feel free to sign up to DocChat today to try a video conference with one of our board certified, highly esteemed DocChat physicians!



5 Ways Telemedicine Helps You Take Control Of Your Care

  1. You Are More Of a Valued Customer Than A Patient

Telemedicine breaks down traditional “doctor/patient” barriers by viewing the procurer less as a number and more as an essential client who is entitled to satisfaction. For example, DocChat’s customer-centric approach places utmost importance on the client’s experience, the patient always comes first. Customer satisfaction at all costs beats walking away from a disappointing or rushed clinic appointment feeling shortchanged.

  1. Care When And Where You Choose

Instead of waiting for appointments, and waiting around clinics, you get to decide the time and place of your care. This helps you take the reins as opposed to just being a passenger waiting on a doctor’s convenience. If you want to set up an appointment at work on your lunch break, nothing is stopping you. Telemedicine services give you complete control over the circumstances surrounding your care.

  1. More Accessible Continuum of Care

Telemedicine makes it much easier to follow up with your doctor than having to attempt to book a whole other appointment shortly after (which often isn’t possible for weeks). You can follow up with your telemedicine doctor with the click of a button via instant chat message or video conference. This enables everyone, especially those with chronic conditions that need managing, to take better control over their continuing healthcare.

  1. Your Time Is Your Own

Scheduling, waiting for and arranging necessary accommodations such as travel or childcare before a doctor’s appointment can all be very time consuming. Waiting an hour in a clinic or several in the ER for concerns that can be handled via telemedicine can be big a waste of your time. Since up to 78% of medical concerns can be dealt with through telemedicine, it seems the option that will enable you to take better control over your healthcare and valuable time is obvious.

  1. Telemedicine Services Answer To You

Quality control is often very high with telemedicine companies because they want you to return as a customer. A good telemedicine provider will always treat you competitively well to keep you whereas if you go to the ER, they don’t want you to return, so you are just treated and sent on your way (happy or not) to make room for the next group of people filing in. You can usually bank on satisfaction with telemedicine videoconferences. DocChat doctors for example are extensively vetted and trained to ensure a companywide standard of excellence. Some companies don’t have as strict standards with their doctors, so it is best to do your research first to make sure a company is intensive about qualifications and training before entrusting them with your care.

Sign up to DocChat today to take better control of your care.

Fast Facts About Telemedicine

Telemedicine word cloud

Here are some facts about the newly advancing telemedicine field that you may not know:

  • Over 78% of Doctor’s visits can be handled via telemedicine
  • Overcrowded U.S. emergency rooms see over 136 million visits annually
  • Only 11% of ER visits end in admission
  • Rural citizens have to travel an average of 60 miles to receive speciality care
  • Telemedicine can benefit the nearly 50 million Americans who live in highly remote rural areas without readily available healthcare
  • Urinary Tract Infections account for over 8 million doctor’s visits annually, and can be easily diagnosed and treated via telemedicine
  • Over half of U.S. hospitals utilize telemedicine
  • Telemedicine could deliver over $6 billion in healthcare savings to U.S. companies annually
  • 67% of healthcare professionals either use, or plan to use some form of telemedicine
  • The global telemedicine market is forecasted to reach $36 300 000 000 by 2020
  • According to the TRC, “Mortality rate dropped from 13.6% to 11.8% after tele-ICU was implemented, and length of stay in the ICU fell from 13.3 days of 9.8.”
  • In 2004 alone, prisons in California utilized 9 000 telemedicine videoconferences for prisoners, saving taxpayers $4 million
  • Tele-monitoring of chronic conditions reduces ER visits by 83%
  • Telemedicine companies such as DocChat can correlate specialist video consultations
  • The average wait-time for a doctor’s appointment in urban areas is 18.5 days
  • Over 17% of cell phone owners have used their phones to seek health advice


New Medicaid Rules Support Telemedicine


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have issued a decisive rule that collates the policies related to the responsibilities of the state Medicaid agency in practicing and supervising access to innovative methods of healthcare.

According to the rule, states are required to come up with an access-monitoring plan, so that proper access to particular health care services can be ensured. The rule further corroborates that the plan must comprise numerous points the states use to examine access to healthcare, including needs of patients, time, distance and accessibility of telemedicine.

The CMS has now made it mandatory for states to craft a complete access-monitoring plan by July 1, 2016. The rule clearly states that the plan must elaborate the method states will use to oversee adequate access of patients to a primary set of telemedicine services as a starting point. It also requires states to evaluate performance of these services after every three years. The plan would also be left open for public opinions and suggestions before submitting it for approval.

According to CMS, telemedicine is comparatively an affordable option for the provision of healthcare services that states must bring under Medicaid. It is worth mentioning here that the federal Medicaid statute does not deem telemedicine as a separate service.

So, after this rule is executed, patients would be able to access health care across state lines. This would not only improve healthcare services, but also provide patients easy access to highly talented specialists across state lines, and then get reimbursed for it. Likewise, physicians can get benefit of the plan by being reimbursed for remote patient services.

The Medicaid rule has made it obligatory for all service providers to operate telemedicine under the range of their State Practice Act. It is pertinent to note that some states require telemedicine service providers to get a license in the state where the patient is located before providing telemedicine services there.

In order to get reimbursed for Medicaid covered services, providers are also required to meet federal requirements of proficiency, affordability and excellence of healthcare. Moreover, states are supported to come up with groundbreaking payment gateways for telemedicine services. For instance, a state can reimburse the doctor or service provider at the remote location and reimburse the facility the patient used to access telemedicine.

States can also repay extra expenditures like the technical support and equipment used during the service in addition to the communication fees. These additional charges can be integrated into the service charges or billed and repaid as administrative fees. When they are billed and reimbursed independently, the cost would fall under the covered Medicaid services.

Can Telemedicine Improve Patient Experience and Boost Your Business?

Old retired woman sitting in front of monitor. She has just sent her blood pressure and pulse information to virtual doctor. At the same time, telemedicine physician is looking at her CT x-ray on the screen

Telemedicine is fast becoming a mainstream part of healthcare. Healthcare providers in the industry are using telehealth and telemedicine solutions. This is mostly due to the proven benefits of these solutions.

The entire cycle of healthcare is experiencing a change because of telemedicine. Telehealth systems have transformed homes, hospitals, care organizations, and behavioral health facilities. Hospitals are able to better support patients, employees and clients when they utilize telemedicine systems. But some organizations are still wondering if a telehealth system is worth the time and investment.

The American Telemedicine Association is a leading authority in the field, the CEO of the organization has stated the following opinion about telemedicine: ‘Some form of telemedicine has existed in primary care for a long time. What’s different is the change in technology and access to broadband that makes it more widely available to doctors and patients.”

Effect on patient care

Telemedicine is a win-win solution for both doctors and patients. These systems allow patients to directly communicate with doctors and relate all their medical issues with adequate face to face time. The doctor is trained to treat a virtual visit just as if it is an in-person visit. The level of care is maintained. Patients living in remote areas can also take advantage of this system and consult properly trained doctors. Patients can be empowered to monitor their health and keep up with their medicine regime through follow-up e-visits by nurses or consultants.
Hospitals often complain of a lack of integrated communication channels between them and their patients. Telehealth can help solve this issue by giving patients access to a single means of communication, record keeping, send emails alerts, or alerts on mobile devices to keep the patient’s informed.

Tech-savvy Patients and Telemedicine

Most patients are comfortable and familiar enough with technology to setup video conferencing and communicate with doctors from their home. This is a convenient option for many because patients can avoid travelling long distances and waiting in long lines at crowded clinics. A survey conducted by Telemedicine and e-Health, concluded that patients are “likely to be accepting of telehealth care to the home using video call and that most have the required technology.”

Benefits of Telemedicine

· Reduce healthcare costs
· Better patient outcomes
· Reductions in the number of readmissions
· Clients and patients are better satisfied with services
· Access to care is easy and quick
· Better communication between doctors and patients
· The outcomes and results are easily tracked
· Telemedicine systems are highly scalable