Some online sites, including Ask the Doctor and MD Talks, offer free, confidential online medical advice from actual doctors. Both sites also provide browsable archives of questions from previous users.
Ask the Doctor allows users to type a question and receive an email response from a board-certified doctor within five minutes. The site displays real-time information, including the number of physicians available online and the current number of patients asking questions.
Ask the Doctor also allows users to browse its archive of more than 340,000 previously answered questions, sorting listings by the most recent answers, the most popular, by topics, by symptom or by alphabetical listing.
The MD Talks site also asks a user to complete a form that includes the user's question, age, gender and any specific symptoms. The form also asks about basic medical history, current medications and allergies. The form does not ask for identifying information, so specific answers are only posted in their question index.