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Surprising services available virtually

Tele-what? You know all those services that have always been in-person – but then weren’t for a while due to the Coronavirus and sheltering-in-place? Things like going to the dentist, getting your haircut, getting your car fixed, going to a lawyer? Well, you won’t believe how many of these, and more, are now available online. Jennifer Jolly, tech & life columnist explains how you can access these services:

TELE-MEDICINE

Let’s
start with Telemedicine apps. Dozens of sites and apps now connect people to
doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, specialists, and therapists via text, phone, or
by video chat. Many of those services have been around for more than a decade,
but they’ve only gone mainstream in the past few months. Apps such as Doctor on Demand, HealthTap, Teladoc,
Amwell,
and others that provide virtual
physician visits

through an online platform or patient portal have experienced a 400% to 800%
uptick in traffic since the pandemic began. Most of these services take
insurance and provide same-day visits with a medical professional.

TELE-EVERYTHING

A
site called JustAnswer offers a whole host of virtual help for
just about everything! It has 12,000 + experts in more than 700 different
categories including auto and boat mechanics, DIY appliance repair, lawyers,
accounts, veterinarians, and even antique appraisers.

The
way it works is simple; log in, type your question and within a few minutes
you’re chatting or talking with a highly-vetted expert. It costs about $5
dollars to join and $40/month to ask unlimited questions. 

Top
trending questions on the site right now include a massive uptick around DIY
projects, such as, “how to fix my boat up because summer’s here,” or “I need
help fixing my broken washing machine  or dishwasher.” Another big
category right now is antique appraisals too. 

I just finished a story around people spending more time at home
and cleaning out old closets, garages, and storage spaces, where they’ve found
old coins, dolls, books, piano’s, costume jewelry, and even paintings. They
snap a quick pic or two of them and ask an appraisal expert at JustAnswer what
they might be worth. Guess what? Within the last few weeks a man in Wisconsin
found out an old painting handed down from his father that’s been in his closet
for more than a decade. Turns out, it could be a lost master painting
potentially worth $3 million dollar
s! He almost threw it away!

The
site moderator said they’re fielding around 4,000
appraisal questions each week. In addition to that incredible painting, one rare
book recently appraised at $45,000
, and even an old five-dollar bill that Elvis
Presley signed is worth $3,000. All of the people who inquired about their
goods were shocked at the potential value. 

TELE-BABYSITTING

Virtual
babysitting is something I never expected to see available online. There’s a
site called sittercity.com that connects you with a trained,
vetted sitter. Of course, a virtual sitter is not the same thing as in-person
babysitting. They can engage children digitally for a short period of time, but
it’s not a replacement for physical care.

Virtual
babysitters can’t change a baby’s diapers, tuck a preschooler into bed or chase
an unruly toddler around the house. But screen-based caregivers can entertain
kids and give parents short breaks. SitterCity says they’ve had an influx of
parents asking for help because both mom and dad are trying to get work done
from home or to play games or read stories to kids in the evenings while
parents eat dinner together or have a drink in the backyard.

TELE-SUMMER
CAMP

Trackers Earth,
an Oregon-based outdoor-adventure camp company, was among the first to take its
after-school and summer classes online shortly after shelter-in-place orders
left many parents – and kids – desperate for options. It named the virtual
options Trackers Spark and I’ve actually taken a few of them.
These are live, small-group interactive webinars — usually a ratio of one teacher
or guide for a maximum of twelve students. The courses are tailored to kids
ages four to 14, and they offer just about every area of interest you could
think of, from outdoor safety and survival to arts and crafts, even
role-playing and lighthearted “secret agent” training. Most online camps are 30
minutes to an hour in length and run $5 to $25 for a single class, with
discounts if parents buy them as a series. 

TELE-HAIRCUTS

The website You Probably Need a
Haircut
lets
people book a video call with a professional barber for $18. To do this you
need the right tools — the site tells you to find or buy a decent pair of
haircutting scissors or razor for men’s, women’s or kid’s haircut, then you
book an appointment online. When it’s your appointment time, you jump on a
video call with a stylist who coaches you, or your friend or family member,
through giving you a haircut. 

You can read more stories like this one at Techish.com. Also, keep up with them on Twitter and Instagram.