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New telehealth service aims to make medical care convenient, affordable for parents

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - If you feel like it’s hard to reach a doctor in the middle of the night when one of your kids get sick, you’re not alone.

Tennessee is now the latest state to have a service where you can Facetime with doctors, even at 2 a.m., but it requires a membership.

Whether it’s a cold, ear infection or a rash, Melanie Skelton has found herself needing a doctor in the middle of the night.

She has two young boys, and she knows after hours it’s not so easy to get someone on the phone to help.

“I think having that accessible in the middle of the night would be even more amazing,” Skelton said.

That’s where Blueberry Pediatrics comes in, offering medical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“There’s no reason for a parent to feel so alone in the middle of the night when their child has a fever and they’re worried,” Dr. Lyndsey Garbi, Blueberry Pediatrics’ Chief Pediatrician, said.

She’s also a mother and four years ago helped create Blueberry Pediatrics to give parents the help they need after hours.

“If you don’t have that person to call who is a doctor in the family, we can provide that service and make it affordable,” Garbi said.

Telehealth services like this can be found online with a quick search.

Garbi said it’s a few things, including all the different doctors on their staff, their quick call backs no matter the time and the price that makes her practice different from the others.

When you sign up, you get a membership paying anywhere between $12 and $18 monthly. This gives you access to a pediatrician anytime you need one and there are no hidden costs.

When you sign up, Blueberry Pediatrics sends you a medical kit that includes devices to check your child’s ears, pulse and temperature. Using them, you send in pictures and videos and a doctor will tell you if you need to take your child to the emergency room.

“Knowing you can bypass that and hopefully still get that visual and all the information you need would be definitely helpful,” Skelton said.

The doctors will even write prescriptions.

“So, if it’s a rash, if it’s a mosquito bite, if it’s pink eye, conjunctivitis, whatever, we can see it and actually know what we’re dealing with in order to prescribe,” Garbi said.

News4 found there are limitations, however. Currently it is only available in 18 states, including Tennessee. Garbi said you have to be living in or traveling to one of these states in order to use the service.

Doctors also can’t do things like listen to your lungs if your child is having a breathing issue. That, of course, can’t be done over a computer or telephone, but they can tell you the next steps.

While some parents love the idea, Nashville moms like Amanda Stein are a bit hesitant to use the service.

“For me, for my kids, I need the doctor to physically be in touch with them and see them and give them the attention,” Stein said.

Even at $18 a month, a one-year membership will most likely cost less than a trip to the emergency room.

 

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