Hey, Doc, Let’s Skype!

You're home alone with your toddler and your 5-year-old. You trip over your son's truck and bust your lip. You're pretty sure it doesn't need stitches, but you hate taking a chance. You also hate hauling the kids to the ER. What choice is there? Probably one you hadn't considered.

New "virtual medicine" services, like MeMD and Ringadoc, allow you to visit a doctor via webcam. You log on, pay a $40 fee, enter your medical info, and wait 15 minutes. A doctor then checks out your problem (flash that lip in front of a computer, tablet, or smartphone), and offers advice.

"We're helping people in rural areas," says Scott Burger, D.O., co-founder of Doctors Express, a national chain of urgent-care medical centers that recently partnered with MeMD.

E-appointments can sub for some routine visits, too. Buck Black, a therapist and licensed clinical social worker in Lafayette, IN, conducts Skype sessions with patients. "It's an effective option for parents who can't get out of the house," he says. Ask your doc if he video-chats. You may inspire him to start.