It’s Tuesday afternoon and I’m getting ready for a doctor’s appointment. My kids are doing their afternoon chores as S-L-O-W-L-Y as possible, but it’s no problem. You see, instead of schlepping them in the car, hearing “mom, I’m bored” 27 times in the waiting room, reading and rereading a year-old Parade magazine while we wait to be called, and then chatting for a few minutes with a doctor who can’t remember my last visit because he has 2,300 other patients, I’m brewing a cup of roasted dandelion root tea instead.
By the time my kids have finished breakfast, I’ve made myself comfy on the couch and am cracking open my laptop for a face-to-face with my personal, board-certified physician. Our conversation isn’t rushed, and before I refill my mug I’ve got a few new strategies for accelerating my recovery from Lyme disease.
If you’re thinking that having unlimited access to a great doctor that you know and trust sounds crazy expensive, I get it. I thought that, too, until I discovered an amazing resource for getting concierge medical care while saving my family money – SteadyMD.
What is SteadyMD?
Basically, it’s unlimited access to your own personal doctor via text, phone or video chat.
If you’ve ever walked into an appointment and watched your doctor struggle to remember important details from your last visit, it’s likely because the old way of keeping a practice going requires a doctor to take on huge workloads. According to this national survey, the average primary care physician has around 2,300 patients, which is probably why the average appointment time is just 20 minutes. (1)
The doctors I’ve talked with find this as frustrating as patients do because they want to take time to get to know their patients and provide high-quality, personalized care. That frustration is behind the movement toward concierge medicine, which involves paying a monthly fee for access to your doctor. What exactly you get depends on the doctor – some offer unlimited access, some offer a certain number of visits or phone calls, etc.
Concierge medicine allows doctors to cut expenses like rent along with their overall workload. With a smaller workload, they’re able to get to know you, really listen, and help you meet your wellness goals.
Specifically with SteadyMD, I get unlimited access to my doctor via text, video chat, and phone calls. If it’s something simple, I usually text via a secure app and hear back quickly. If I need to have a more involved conversation, I schedule a call or video chat (many times that SAME DAY).
Before SteadyMD, most of the functional medicine M.D.’s I’ve worked with are booked months in advance, so the fact that I can get friendly, quick access is just amazing to me.
Why I Chose SteadyMD
When I started having unexplained symptoms last year (that eventually turned out to be Lyme disease), I had to get creative about accessing the care I needed. Functional Medicine doctors – which focus on taking a proactive approach to wellness and treating the root causes of dysfunction instead of symptoms – are not common in the community I recently moved to, and the ones that are here can be difficult to get an appointment with.
Oh, and the closest functional medicine clinic that will see kids, too? It’s SIX hours away.
Now, I’m comfortable managing minor illnesses at home with a batch of homemade vapor rub, chicken broth and whatever else is needed, but for some things (like Lyme disease or keeping an eye on folate levels due to the MTHFR mutation) I deeply value the support and insights of a functional medicine doctor.
What kinds of conditions can be addressed?
Although not an exhaustive list, here are just a few of the things SteadyMD can help with:
Chronic Conditions like Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism and other types of thyroid dysfunction, stress management, pre-diabetes and diabetes, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Acute Care / Urgent Care situations like bronchitis and pneumonia, colds, coughs, headaches, congestion, the flu, rashes, sinus infections, sports injuries, sprains and bruises, yeast infections, and UTI’s.
Optimizing Wellness when it comes to balancing hormones and identifying and correcting nutritional deficiencies.
SteadyMD doctors can serve as primary care physicians for adults, and for kids they provide responsiveness, support, and peace of mind alongside what the pediatrician can offer. For our kids, what this means is that we’ve established care with a local provider just in case it’s ever needed, but we almost never see him because our SteadyMD doctor has a more flexible schedule and can answer questions faster. Plus, all our visits are covered under our family plan, so it saves money, too.
How It Works
1. You tell SteadyMD what you are looking for – a functional medicine doctor, for example, or maybe a doctor who advises on (and practices) Crossfit and Whole30. Guided by your medical needs, interests and goals, they help pair you with the best doctor for you.
2. During your first appointment, you video chat for about an hour to get to know each other and develop a plan to monitor your health and help you achieve your wellness goals. Your doctor will order labs and write prescriptions as needed, and they can be run through insurance if you have it.
3. Anytime you have a question, send your doctor a text or schedule a same-day video chat or call.
Is SteadyMD really affordable?
For us, the answer is a big yes. Years ago, my family paid $800+ every month for health insurance that rarely covered our actual expenses. For example, it didn’t cover the cost of my son’s home birth so we paid for it out of pocket, and none of the functional medicine practitioners we wanted to see were covered so we paid for those visits, too.
Now we use a combination of SteadyMD and a healthcare sharing program instead of traditional insurance. Our healthcare sharing program often covers holistic therapies that our traditional insurance didn’t – the only caveat is that the therapies have to be covered by a qualified healthcare professional. With SteadyMD, we have a relationship with a doctor who doesn’t just see the theoretical value in holistic approaches . . . she wholeheartedly recommends them and actually reversed her autoimmune disease with dietary changes.
With this approach, we’ve received amazing care while reducing our costs and skipping the waiting room. Here are some other ways SteadyMD can help families save money:
Your SteadyMD membership includes unlimited appointments.
Save On Lab Work & Prescriptions
If your insurance covers labs, they will work with you to find the cheapest option for your plan. If you don’t have insurance, they’ll give you access to their discounted pricing from Quest Diagnostics, Labcorp, etc. SteadMD doctors can also write prescriptions, including for things like natural thyroid medication.
Fewer ER/ Urgent Care Visits
Weird things pop up with kids (and adults) sometimes. This summer one of my kids developed a very strangle looking rash on his face, which our doctor quickly determined was a reaction to eating citrus fruit and then going out in the sun.
You see my child, being the enthusiastic eater that he is, got the juice allllllll over his face didn’t wash it off, which increased his sensitivity to the sun that day. I love that situations like this, I can send a quick text with a photo and get peace of mind right away.
Want to give SteadyMD a try?
It’s easy – just go here and choose an individual or family plan, then take a quiz to be matched with three doctors you can choose from.
1. Reuters. The doctor will see you now – but often not for long.