If you are suspected of being infected with the Coronavirus, you can contact a doctor via video consultation. Due to the Corona crisis, many providers offer their video consultation free of charge. The prices for online prescription have not changed.
By now, it is allowed for doctors in Germany to advise patients via video consultation or phone. We present three providers, two for adults and one for children and their parents.
The Munich-based start-up Teleclinic offers digital consultations per telephone or video call in English or German. You are advised by specialists with a German license to practise. As a private patient, you can submit your invoice from Teleclinic to your insurance. Patients with statutory health insurance pay at least 37 euros per consultation.
Theory: Download the app, register, talk to a suitable doctor within one day – this is what Teleclinic promises on their website. Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor prescribes medication that can either be picked up at a nearby pharmacy or delivered to your house.
Practice: The registration process was very quick, the appointment was made promptly, the doctor called four hours later. The image and sound quality was good, there is nothing to complain about. We cannot say anything about the prescription of medication and the reimbursement of the costs for the online consultation, because no medication has been prescribed.
For some time now, Teleclinic has been facing competition in Germany from big player in the telemedicine sector. The Swedish company Kry now also offers their services in Germany to English and German speaking patients.
Just like for Teleclinic, qualified German doctors with a German license to practice advise patients per telephone or video consultation. The prices vary. From Monday to Friday, consultation costs between 30 euros and 32 euros, on Saturday between 37 euros and 39 euros and on Sundays and holidays between 43 euros and 46 euros. The same applies to Teleclinic and Kry: you don’t have to pay anything for questions about the Coronavirus.
Theory: In principle, Kry works just like Teleclinic: you download an app, register and make an appointment. The Kry app is constructed similar to the Teleclinic app. The most important function – scheduling an appointment – is positioned most prominently. You can either schedule an appointment directly or you can indicate your symptoms and you will be passed on to a suitable doctor.
Practice: Downloading the app and registering is really quick. Scheduling an appointment is also easy and straightforward. Compared to Teleclinic, it was possible to get an appointment within one hour. The internet connection and the video quality was very good, except for two short delays. Therefore, the telemedicine service Kry can also be recommended.
Besides the two companies mentioned above, there are other telemedicine providers for adults who offer their teleconsultation free of charge in the case of suspected Coronavirus infection; amongst others Deutsche Arzt AG, Gemedo, Arztkonsultation.de and Jameda.
Jan Falkenberg, a paediatrician from Berlin came up with a lovely offer for parents: a telemedicine platform called Kinderarztnow.de. The project only launched at the end of March 2020, but it was already planned before the Corona crisis.
Theory: Kinderarzt.now is intended for parents who want quick and straightforward advice when their children are ill. Falkenberg himself consults in German and English. His colleague offers consultation in German, Russian and English. Unlike the paediatric practice, the platform is accessible until 9pm and on weekends. The costs per consultation are at least 28 euros for self-paying and private patients. Appointments can be made per telephone or online.
Practice: When you call the hotline, Mr. Falkenberg himself receives your request and schedules the appointments. You will then receive a massage on your phone which contains a link to the login screen and a pin. The registration went smoothly and the image worked, however, in our test, the sound did not work. The project is still in its infancy, says Mr. Falkenberg. Our tip: try it anyways, at least when your child is suspected of being infected with the Coronavirus. There is a free Corona consultation hour from 12 to 2pm.
Usually, a doctor’s consultation ends with the prescription of medication. Nowadays, there are different companies that streamlined the prescription process for certain problems. You only have to fill out an online questionnaire and you will receive the respective drug per post.
Zava is one of the biggest telemedicine providers in Europe. The British company was founded in 2010, today it employs around 200 people, primarily in London. The service is available in English and German.
Doctors at Zava are permanently employed and write prescriptions for thirty different illnesses or disorders such as hair loss, inflammation of the bladder or heartburn. Here is a list of problems for which Zava prescribes medication.
Theory: To order medicine, you would simply have to register on the Zava website, and then choose the necessary treatment, says the company. Then you have to fill in an online questionnaire and submit it. After a doctor has verified and approved the prescription, it is either sent to your house or to a nearby pharmacy. You can pay via paypal, by credit card or invoice.
Practice: Logging in and ordering on the website is quick and simple. Depending on which treatment you are interested in, you are led through the ordering process. For every medicament you order, a treatment fee is added. Thus, a hay fever nasal spray (Nasonex) costs for example 20,04€, the treatment fee amounts to 19 euros. You can pay via paypal, per credit card or invoice. The delivery of the medicament was uncomplicated, too. Three days after the order was made, it was delivered to the letterbox. The bad news is that as a statutory health insurance patient, you have to pay the 39 euros yourself. Zava is a medical practice registered in London, therefore it is as if you visit a doctor abroad.
In principle, Fernarzt (“remote doctor”) works just like Zava: you fill in an online questionnaire, order the medicament and get it delivered to your house or pick it up a at nearby pharmacy. Like at Zava, English doctors approve the prescription, which is sent to you by a Dutch pharmacy. However, the list of 26 diseases that are treated is a little bit shorter than the list from Zava and it is only available in German.
Practice: The hay fever nose spray Nasonex costs 20,04 euros, the same price as Zava, the treatment fee of 19 euros is identical as well. Advantage: You can order as a guest at Fernarzt and don’t have to register. Just like Zava, you are led through the online questionnaire in a few minutes. You can pay per invoice, credit card or instant bank transfer.
In the order receipt sent per mail, it is indicated that due to the Coronavirus drug delivery may be delayed. However, the hay fever nose spray in original packaging and with patient instruction leaflet was delivered within three days as well. Disadvantage: You have to pay the 39,04 euros yourself, too. In addition, on the prescription, the wrong medicament was mentioned concerning the medication intake. While a nose spray was delivered, the prescription mentioned the intake of film-coated tablets. The company Fernarzt apologized upon inquiry and wrote: “This seems to be the first incident of this kind. Of course, we took all measures to prevent this from happening again.”
Conclusion: Generally, the services online prescription and video consultation in Germany work. Especially in the case of suspected Coronavirus infection it makes sense to use the free video consultation. For all other problems as well as online prescriptions, statutory health insurance patients have to bear the costs themselves.