Too Busy to Go to the Doctor? Just Visit Her Online

By Boonsri Dickinson | September 23, 2009 10:57 am

That’s right—now you can get a diagnosis and a prescription by turning on your Web cam. Telemedicine has created virtual house calls for patients willing to give up face time with doctors. CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen wanted to check out a “funky, little red mole” that worried her, so she went online and paid a doctor $40 for a ten minute session.

Watch a video of her visit here:

Embedded video from CNN Video

There are several states that are testing out the virtual program. Hawaii has launched America Well, in which residents can use a phone or computer to visit their choice of dermatologist, internist, or specialist anytime of the day. And for record-keeping sake, a transcript or stream of the video session is sent to the patient after the “visit.” Texas also offers a similar virtual consultation through My Healthy Access, but patients would have to visit a clinic set up at a Wal-Mart in order to use the service.

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  • G Hats

    I can see this posing a huge number of problems. Specifically doctors making false or incorrect diagnoses due to lack of availability to take tests or closely examine and touch the patient. Especially something like a mole, where a web-cam may not offer very good visual detail and the doctor is unable to touch it – the doctor has to rely on info given from the patient. And, even more especially for something like a lump or a growth under skin which would require direct personal contact.

    I fear this will just cause doctors to go along with what a patient says they have and prescribe medications even if they are the incorrect medication or if the patient doesn’t need them at all. Even though it says that a person should go in to a doctor’s office if things change, etc, I can see people relying to much on this and never feeling the need to go to a doctor no matter how serious things are.

  • Pingback: The Creepy World Of Old-School Medicine | Discoblog | Discover Magazine

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