First Opinion

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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about First Opinion, start by watching our video, then feel free to browse through the FAQ page. Or, you can simply start chatting with a doctor.

The Basics

What is First Opinion? How does it work?

First Opinion is a messaging service created to help people avoid unnecessary and expensive doctor office visits by pairing users with a doctor they can message 24/7, for fast, answers about health and medical issues. Anyone (over the age of 18) located anywhere can start messaging back and forth with a doctor within minutes. The service is available on Apple devices (iOS) and online.

What can I expect as a First Opinion user?

When you create an account, you are matched with a doctor. Let’s call this doctor, your Matched Doctor Team (MDT). Right away, you will see a message screen — ask away! Ask anything (medically related) and go back and forth as much as you need with your MDT. Your doctor will be able to help educate you on a variety of medical topics. The best part? You are speaking with the same small team of doctors every time, so you never have to start over. The other best part? This is all 100% free. If a diagnosis or treatment is needed (read: prescriptions, lab orders, doctor’s notes), then your MDT will bring in a Local Doctor for a one-time fee of $39. Your MDT will continue to help you throughout this process and see that you get the help you need from a First Opinion Local Doctor.

How much does it cost?

Messaging a doctor is completely free. There are no message or time limits. With the free service, you can get answers to questions and tips (like home remedies for headaches or colds).
If you need more personalized care or treatment, you have the option to be connected to a doctor in your state – a First Opinion Local Doctor. This extended service is $39 for single-use and it’s currently available in 17 US states. For more information about our extended service, see our Extended Services section.

Do you need insurance to use First Opinion?

No. Insurance is not necessary with First Opinion.

Does First Opinion accept insurance?

While insurance may be accepted at the pharmacy or lab if you need prescriptions or lab tests, the cost for a consult with our extended service ($39 one-time fee) is not eligible to be covered by insurance.

How can I talk to a doctor? What devices can I use?

We are available on the App Store for iOS devices (8.3 or later). Download our app here. Or, you can chat with us online right now. While we do not yet have an Android app, you can still chat with us on your mobile device through our website. Click here for a mobile version of the online chat.

Is First Opinion private and secure?

Yes. We take safeguarding both your personal information and doctor interactions very seriously. We are HIPAA compliant and secure and encrypt your information using industry standard best practices. All communications with your doctors on the app and website are confidential and every message back and forth is encrypted.

Who else can access my information?

All information you exchange through First Opinion is between you and your Matched Doctor Team. Your Matched Doctor will only share your information with a Local Doctor if you give prior consent.

I already have a doctor, why would I use First Opinion?

Your First Opinion doctor isn’t meant to replace your Primary Care Physician. We’re glad you have a doctor, and we encourage you to continue routine check-ups and in-person visits. A lot of people who already have a doctor use First Opinion for little questions, questions a regular PCP may not have time for, or as a second opinion after visiting their doctor. Plus, a lot of PCPs are tough to get ahold of and there is always a wait time for an appointment. A 2013 study from the American Medical Association estimates that 70% of the 1 billion U.S. doctor office visits the previous year were unnecessary and could have been avoided by first consulting with a physician by phone, email or text. When you visit a doctor, you often have to set up an appointment in advance and take half a day off work to visit the doctor for yourself or a loved one. Additionally, a doctor’s visit takes a nonrefundable fee upfront, typically a co-pay, all before seeing the doctor who decides if treatment is necessary or not. Alternatively, First Opinion offers you access to a personal doctor at your fingertips, 24/7, who will help answer your everyday health questions or let you know if you should go in for a physical appointment, saving you time and money. Our extended service may be able to help you with a diagnosis, prescription, or lab order, all from the comfort of your own home. .

Our Doctors

Who are the First Opinion doctors?

We hire only the best and brightest. Our doctors have graduated from some of the top medical universities and fulfill strict Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirements to stay current on primary care best practices. Your matched doctor could be based anywhere in the world and you can reach them and their team 24/7 with your medical questions and concerns. If your situation requires further care (see Extended Service), your matched doctor can refer you to a local doctor. The local doctor is a US physician licensed in your state who can help when you require a diagnosis, prescription, lab test, or official doctor’s note.

How does matching work?

When you create an account, we will match you to one of our care teams. Your care team consists of one Primary Clinic Director (you will see this doctor’s information when you are matched). Your matched doctor has a team of 3-4 doctors who also help respond to questions and concerns. This way, you will have a doctor at your fingertips 24/7.

What is the difference between my Matched Doctor and my Local Doctor?

When creating an account with First Opinion, you will be assigned a Matched Doctor Team (MDT) with whom you will be able to build a medical relationship over time. Your MDT could be based anywhere in the world and you can message with them 24/7.
At some point or multiple points throughout your First Opinion experience, you may need further care. First Opinion has doctors (Local Doctors) who are licensed in your state. If treatment or diagnosis is needed, your Matched Doctor Team will connect you to a First Opinion Local Doctor — right in the same message stream. The cost for the Extended Local Doctor Service is $39, one-time fee.

Where are the doctors located?

First Opinion doctors work from all over the world. We have doctors in San Francisco, Canada, India, Hong Kong, Denmark, Boston, and more.

How are the doctors trained?

All of the doctors are licensed physicians who are peer reviewed and are required to complete the First Opinion Training Academy before connecting with users on our platform. The Academy tests and advances clinical knowledge and best practices to ensure that you are in great hands. Our doctors stay at the forefront of their fields by pursuing Continuing Medical Education (CME).

Do I get the same doctor every time?

Absolutely. Once you are matched, your doctor and her team will be your constant source for medical advice. One of the benefits of First Opinion is the ability to build a relationship with your Matched Doctor Team over time. We feel it is important to have a reliable, friendly and familiar doctor to help you with your questions or concerns.

Using First Opinion

Topics

What can I ask about? What can First Opinion help with?

If you have a health or medical concern, ask us. As long as the conversation remains appropriate and medically relevant, your doctor is available to consult on most issues. First Opinion doctors can help people better understand if something is serious and what options are available to them.

You can ask about things like:

  • Skin or dermatological problems. Think rashes, acne, bug bites, allergic reactions, etc.
  • Pregnancy. Whether you’re currently or trying to get pregnant, most of our doctors are moms and are here to help.
  • Sexual health/STDs. Ask about disease types like herpes, HPV, chlamydia or symptoms like unusual vaginal discharge, genital rashes or itchiness, cold sores or pain when urinating.
  • Birth control. Get birth control prescriptions and talk to your doctor about what birth control options are right for you (oral contraceptive, vaginal ring, etc.)
  • UTIs (urinary tract infections). Get labs and antibiotics if necessary for your UTI.
  • Flu and Cold. Check your symptoms with your doctor and find out what causing your cough, sore throat, fever, fatigue, and chills.
  • Allergies. Get help with seasonal allergies.
  • Gastrointestinal problems like vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Eye or ophthalmological problems. Think pink eye, itchiness, styes, dry eye, allergies.
  • Pediatric or children’s health questions. We have pediatricians at First Opinion who can help answer things pertaining to your children as well.
  • Hair loss in men
  • See Common Health Questions for a complete reference of the most commonly addressed topics.

Note: While First Opinion is great for most questions, emergency situations should be handled by calling 911.

Are there any topics First Opinion can’t help with?

  • There are a few things we will not be able to help you with including:
  • Dental issues
  • Diet pills
  • Diabetic drugs
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Narcotic medications
  • Any controlled substances
  • Psychiatric medications
  • Medical marijuana
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Initial asthma inhaler prescriptions

However, we can sometimes help you get a local, in-person doctor’s appointment, so you should reach out anyway and we would be happy to help you with a referral!

Is First Opinion useful for people with chronic health conditions?

Yes, if you have a chronic condition, it’s likely that you have lots to discuss with your regular physician and waiting for the next visit can be unnerving. First Opinion provides a personal relationship with a Matched Doctor which means you don’t have to wait until your next visit with your regular physician to ask those questions.

Technical Questions

How does this app work?

Anyone can start messaging back and forth with a doctor within a couple minutes of downloading the app or opening the chat on our website. Each user is matched with a small team of doctors who are always available to answer questions within minutes.

How do I claim a gift code?

Congrats! On the app, you will want to let your matched doctor know you’d like to redeem a gift code. From there, you will start the process of talking with a Local Doctor. When you are prompted to pay, you will see a space for your credit card and gift code. Enter your gift code and hit “Redeem.”

I can’t get back on the app or chat, what do I do?

Typically, these bugs will be resolved within 24 hours. However, if you are still experiencing issues getting back to your account, please send us an email: hello@firstopinionapp.com.

How can I get in touch with someone to report technical issues?

Send us an email: hello@firstopinionapp.com

Extended Local Doctor Service ($39)

Where is the Extended Service available?

The Extended Local Doctor Service is not available everywhere. It is available in the US only in the following states: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. We are working hard to expand our services to more states and regions. Check back soon for more locations!

My matched doctor said I should talk to a Local Doctor for $39, why?

While your Matched Doctor Team is there for you 24/7 and can answer many questions, the Extended Local Doctor Service provides more complete-experience. If a diagnosis or treatment is needed (read: prescriptions, lab orders, doctor’s notes), then your Matched Doctor Team will bring in a First Opinion Local Doctor. The cost of this is a single payment of $39. Your Matched Doctor Team will continue to help you throughout this process, be there to answer questions, and see that you get the help you need from a First Opinion Local Doctor.

What do I receive when I upgrade?

When you upgrade for a Local Doctor, you will be able to video chat with a doctor who is licensed to practice medicine in your state.* Here is a summary of our services:

  • Send photos
  • Get prescriptions for medication (new or refills)
  • Order labs (like blood or urine testing)
  • Diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Doctor’s note for work, school, etc.

 

If you have more questions, please send us an email at hello@firstopinionapp.com