A new law that lets residents visit with health care professionals via smartphones has gone into effect in Indiana.
The law allows patients to download apps, depending on their health care provider, WTHR-TV reported. They can enter medical information and have live conversations with medical workers who can diagnose basic ailments and prescribe medications. Doctors cannot prescribe non-controlled substances.
Health care officials say visits generally take about 20 minutes.
Patients would be paired with whichever medical professional is available. The virtual visits are not meant to replace a traditional doctor's visit, but to offer a convenient option.
Health care officials say the system helps keep people out of emergency rooms and saves money. Officials say the average cost for a virtual visit is about $49. The cost of each visit depends on the health provider and whether or not it's covered by insurance.
Indiana University Dr. Jonathan Gottlieb said the app is a good way to avoid driving or having to wait for things like a sore throat or a urinary tract infection.
Katie McDaniel has taken advantage of the Indiana University Health's trial version on three separate occasions when her children needed medical attention.
"As a parent of seven, our life is very full and so sometimes fitting in those doctor's visits can be overwhelming or time-consuming," McDaniel said. "So it's really convenient to be able to just pick up the phone and dial in, see the doctor."