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Text-a-doctor-app

First Opinion is an app that lets you ask a doctor any question in real time. After you type in your name, e-mail, age, gender, and other information, you're almost instantly paired with a doctor.

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Stuffy nose, ugly cough, and a headache that won't go away. What's the first step that you take towards getting rid of these symptoms? Where do you go to get a first opinion? What if we told you, this can all be assessed by your cell phone.

First Opinion is an app that lets you ask a doctor any question in real time. After you type in your name, e-mail, age, gender, and other information, you're almost instantly paired with a doctor.

I asked some smartphone users, what is their First Opinion?

Ranging from doctors, professors, and students, they had seemingly positive reviews. But when Dr. Cynthia Matthews-Betts of Grace Medical Group went through the total process of being assessed by an "online doctor", she says she would never use it again.

"I don't like it very much. I think that you really need, and a patient needs a hands on physician encounter. And I didnâ??t like how the app didn't respond quick enough," Betts says.

Dr. Betts' conversation with online Dr. Preet took roughly 20 minutes.

Sydney Priore, a USC student, says she would rather use this app for minor issues for many reasons.

"You get a quick answer, it doesn't cost anything. You don't have to go to the health center, wait in a waiting room, or go through all of that," Priore says.

The app itself is free, but if you would like to add certain features, like camera accessibility to send doctors photos of your symptoms, it can cost up to $9.

The app description assures that the doctors are real doctors, and so does the CEO of First Opinion, McKay Thomas.

"With these methods we can assure you that this is not only a real doctor, but a great doctor who's standing by ready to help," Thomas says.

Thomas says he came up with the app because he wanted to find a better way for his wife to get the answers she needed when they were expecting their son. He says by creating this app it allows not just women, but everyone have a real doctor answer real questions almost immediately.

"First Opinion completed 100,000 doctor consolations in the first year," McKay says.

He says there are 1 billion office visits annually in the U.S., and 7 out of 10 of them end up being unnecessary. First Opinion aims to decrease the number of unnecessary visits to the doctor to allow doctors more time to meet with those who are in more serious situations.

These doctors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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