If you need to see a doctor, you'd better plan ahead.
A 2017 survey found 24 days was the average wait time in 15 of the largest cities to schedule a physician appointment.The long waits are a result of a growing shortage of primary care physicians, along with an aging population requiring more health care.
But you can jump that line — if you're willing to go online for your medical visit. Major health care players like, UnitedHealth, Aetna and Kaiser Permanente, are increasingly using virtual care or telehealth for primary care appointments and follow-ups.
Another option is "virtual visit" via a smartphone app.
Among startups offering on-demand health care is 98point6, a Seattle-based app that connects you with a doctor through text messaging.
"We've attempted to solve the primary care crisis. By 2020, there will be a 20K physician shortage. That will rise to 30,000 by 2025," 98point6 CEO and co-founder Robbie Cape told CNBC's "On the Money" in a recent interview.
Cape explained that when you jump into their service, which costs $20 the first year for unlimited visits, patients immediately enter into conversation with artificial intelligence (AI).
"We actually have board-certified physicians that are behind all of the artificial intelligence that we're doing. We're using artificial intelligence not to replace the doctors, but to actually augment the doctors," Cape said.
In non-emergency situations, a "virtual visit" with a physician using text and video on a smartphone, tablet or computer can be faster and cheaper than an in-person doctor's appointment.
The average primary care visit costs $160, while the cost of a virtual visit is between $50 and $75. However, 98point6 offers unlimited virtual visits for the first year for $20, with the second year fee checking in at $120.