DrConnect can serve for many scenarios. However, there are cases for which virtual care, the question and answer forum, and DrConnect’s AI-powered symptom checker are unsuitable. Please refer to the following guidelines when considering the possible and proper uses of DrConnect:
- DrConnect may be used to connect with doctors for trusted health information, answers, tips, and virtual consultations
- DrConnect virtual consultations may be used for limited primary medical care (as appropriate)
- Diagnosis and prescriptions or tests are available as thought medically necessary and relevant by the attending physician
- DrConnect virtual consultations are not a substitute for health insurance, face-to-face consultations with your Primary Care GP (or other face-to-face care interactions), or medical emergencies
- DrConnect’s Health Q&A and DrConnect’s symptom checker are only intended for general informational purposes
- No doctor-patient relationship can be created from these interactions
- No medical diagnosis, treatment, or prescriptions are allowed from these features
- DrConnect supports but does not create doctor-patient relationships.
Always keep the following in mind:
- Seek the advice of your doctor or your other qualified healthcare provider whenever you have a personal question about a medical condition or symptom
- Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you read or learn on DrConnect
- Call your local emergency service or your doctor immediately if you believe you have a medical emergency
With DrConnect, you can consult with any doctor that you have visited in the past 36 months using a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone and a reliable internet connection.
To consult with a doctor on DrConnect, please follow these steps:
1. Register for DrConnect through the Discovery website. Once registered, download the app from the Apple App Store for iOS or Google Play Store for Android
2. Log in to your DrConnect profile
3. Click on the Talk to a doctor icon:
4.A list of doctors will appear on your screen under the Talk to a doctor section. Select the doctor that you would like to conduct a virtual consultation (VC) with. Note that a video icon shown next to the doctor’s name means that they are able to have video consultations.
Note that if you have not consulted with any doctors in the past 36 months, no list will appear in the section below:
5. Once you have selected your doctor, it will take you to the Choose a consult method page where it will show you if they are available immediately or if you need to schedule a consult. If they are immediately available, you will see the Connect now option. You can choose to have a consultation by text chat, video call or voice call as shown in the image below. Once you select the consultation type, you should be connected to a doctor right away – usually within two minutes.
If the doctor isn’t immediately available, you will need to book an appointment with them using the Book Appointment icon explained in the next point.
6. If your doctor is not available, you need to book an appointment using the Book Appointment icon shown in the image below. Note that the doctor is also able to book with you so that there is a mutual date and time agreed upon.
7. Choose your preferred length of the virtual consultation. You can select a 15-minute or 30-minute consultation. Virtual consultations usually don’t take more than 15 minutes.
8. Once you have selected the Book Appointment icon, you’ll land on the Appointment page with the doctor’s available slots will. You can select your preferred date and time slot.
9. You will then need to fill in additional details such as the reason for your appointment with the doctor as well any previous medication taken.
10. Once the virtual consultation has been booked and confirmed, it takes place during the chosen time. You have the option to text your doctor using the chat option available in the interface.
You will not be able to see any available appointment slots because of the following reasons:
- The doctor's diary has been fully booked
- The doctor has booked time off and is unavailable for a certain period
DrConnect virtual consultations are not intended for use in medical emergencies. If you experience a medical emergency, please call your local emergency services or go to the emergency room of a nearby hospital or medical clinic.
DrConnect virtual consultations are commonly used by DrConnect customers looking for doctors' help addressing the following health issues:
- Abdominal pain
- Acute bronchitis
- Acute conjunctivitis
- Acute cystitis
- Acute pharyngitis
- Acute sinusitis
- Asthma (stable/non-emergency)
- Athlete's foot
- Back pain
- Bee sting
- Bladder infections
- Cellulitis (skin infection)
- Dry scalp
- Dry skin (eczema)
- Eye irritation
- Genital lesions
- Hay fever
- Heartburn (Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD)
- Lab interpretation
- Nasal congestion
- Painful urination
- Pink eye
- Poison oak or poison ivy
- Respiratory infection
- Rolled ankle
- Seborrheic dermatitis (dry scalp)
- Skin infection
- Sports injuries
- Strep throat
- Travel medicine
- Upper respiratory infection
- Urinary tract infection
- Vaginal itching
- Yeast infection
Always call your local emergency service immediately if you think you have an emergency. For example, go to an emergency room at once if you, or someone close to you, experience any of the following medical issues:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Convulsion or seizure
- Difficulty breathing
- Mental health, behavioral health, addiction issues
- Moderate to severe burn
- Pain medication overdose or reaction (narcotics)
- Serious head, neck, or back Injury
- Serious limb impairment or broken bone
- Significant, uncontrolled bleeding
- Suicide ideation
- Any other critical or life-threatening situation
DrConnect’s symptom checker is powered by an advanced artificial intelligence algorithm and trained by more than 108 000 doctors. It is always on call to answer your health questions and guide you to the right health information or care.
How to assess your symptoms with DrConnect:
1. Log in to your DrConnect account
2. In the main menu, select the Assess my symptoms icon:
3. DrConnect’s symptom checker tool will then prompt you with questions
4. It will ask you what symptoms you are experiencing. You can search for the symptom either by:
- Typing the symptom into the search bar
- Using the virtual mannequin as per the image below. Simply select the corresponding place where the symptom is located on the image:
- Symptom assessment history view: You can view a list of the complete transcripts of all your previous symptom assessment sessions with DrConnect’s symptom checker under the Care tab. All newly completed symptom assessments will be saved to this list by default. You can also delete individual symptom assessments if you wish to do so.
- At any point during your conversation with DrConnect’s symptom checker, going back a page will completely erase your conversation and you will need to begin again.
- As stated in the Disclaimer: All information on DrConnect (including this tool) is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. You should immediately call or visit your doctor or local emergency services provider if you believe you may be having a medical emergency.
5. Based on the symptom you enter, DrConnect’s symptom checker might ask you different questions to learn more about it.
6. After getting additional information on your symptoms, the tool will ask for some background information on the patient. Remember that any answers you give DrConnect’s symptom checker here will automatically be saved to your DrConnect profile background information. If you wish to edit this later, you can easily do so by going to My Records.
7. Once DrConnect’s symptom checker has gathered enough information, it will present you with a list of possible diagnoses. It will also tell you the statistical likelihood of each being possible.
Members do not have to pay to ask a question or to browse the library. However, members will be charged for virtual consultations and this will be paid from their day to day benefits.
Yes. However, you will need to use your Discovery website or app login credentials. These are the same login details used to access the DrConnect platform following a successful registration. A consultation may be held with a minor but only when facilitated through the parent or guardian’s DrConnect profile.
This is because Discovery currently limits access to adults, so for now it is not possible for anyone under the age of 16 years to register for a website account.
However, the virtual consultation doctor will bill the patient they’ve consulted with in the standard way. They will use the details of the dependant who had the consultation.
The regulatory environment for telehealth in South Africa requires that Discovery Health (Pty) Ltd follow a number of guidelines to ensure these regulations are met.
The Health Professionals Council of South Africa stipulates that a patient may only hold a telehealth consultation with a doctor with whom they have an existing relationship. To make sure that we meet this, Discovery Health reviews the claims made over the past 36 months and matches these to the provider.
This helps make sure that a pre-existing relationship exists between you and the available doctors on DrConnect, meaning that you have been seen by these doctors before. To ensure data privacy, a member is asked to grant consent for the doctors to view their electronic health record (EHR). Finally, the doctor and member need to be registered on the DrConnect platform.
Although these criteria seem time-consuming, it is vital that Discovery Health follows the guidance of the professional bodies and ensures that data privacy is maintained. If these criteria are met, a member will see the doctor listed in their care team and be able to schedule a consultation with their doctor.
If the doctor is not registered on the DrConnect platform, members will have to have a conversation directly with their doctor to ask them to join. The doctor can then access DrConnect through HealthID.
During this time of social distancing and the country being on lockdown, virtual consults offer an alternative consultation method to both members and doctors which limits risk of exposure to the virus. It also enables doctors to review symptoms and ensure that only patients with valid medical reasons enter medical facilities. This minimises the unnecessary load on medical centres.
Discovery Health has also ensured that doctors on the virtual consultation platform are available to meet the increased demand by opening up a team of doctors focused on COVID-19. These doctors are available to consult to help serve this anticipated demand.
The interface on mobile and web looks very similar to the images below. You can download the DrConnect app from the Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play Store for Android:
Mobile landing screen
Computer (web) landing screen
You can grant consent through web or mobile app by following the steps below:
Once you log in to your web profile, select Medical Aid and then Need a doctor
On the Need a doctor page, select the third tile Give your doctor consent to view your medical information
1. Tick the box on the bottom right that confirms that you accept the terms and conditions and select the Submit button
2. You will then see a pop up block on your screen confirming that you have given your doctor consent to view your medical information
There are both general practitioners (GPs) and specialists on DrConnect
I am having trouble connecting to the virtual consultation
First check that you are using a suitable video?enabled device with a webcam and speakers. The virtual consultation can also be conducted by voice or text if your bandwidth is limited.
Check your technology and also make sure that you have a stable internet connection.
Members are only able to have a virtual consultation with the doctors they have seen in the last 36 months, in line with the guidelines from the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The doctor needs to have been granted consent to view the patient’s electronic health record (EHR) and must be registered for HealthID and DrConnect.
When a question is directed to the general doctor population on DrConnect, doctors will see the gender, age and city of the person asking the question. Doctors will not be able to see any other personal information. However, if a member directs a question to a doctor on their Care Team, and they have granted consent for that doctor to view their electronic health record (EHR), the doctor will be able to see other information about them.
Yes, members are able to review answers to similar questions. In addition, members are able to search a library of topics and can access a newsfeed on the homepage of the DrConnect app or website with asked and answered questions on specific topics.
Their Personal Health Record (PHR) will also be integrated with DrConnect, so when a new claim is submitted, the member will see new content on their DrConnect feed that relates to their newly diagnosed condition.
You have to navigate to the COVID-19 information page on the Discovery website (www.discovery.co.za) and register. Once registered, you can either have a virtual consultation with a doctor through your web profile or download the Discovery DrConnect app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.