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FUTURE: Virtual house calls, virtualists, Skyping doctors

I have to admit that when I don’t feel well, I am more inclined to dive back under the covers than drag myself out and sit in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.  (“Go away!  Just let me alone!”)  So, I would probably be a candidate to be an early adopter of virtual housecalls.  It would be nice to be able to hobble across the room to the computer and Skype with a primary care physician about worrisome symptoms.  This is a concept that insurers are starting to pay for and is probably going to be a competitive battleground between retail providers and health systems.

One system, CHI Franciscan Health, that studied utilization patterns has found that the key demographic is women aged 25 to 55.  (I wonder if women older than 55 are just not as comfortable using Skype and Facetime?)  The most typical diagnoses include bladder infections, pinkeye, and upper respiratory problems.  Not surprisingly, the virtual visits tend to take place on nights and weekends, when doctors’ offices are closed.

Source: Goodnough, A. (2015, July 12). Modern doctors’ house calls: Skype chat and fast diagnosis. The New York Times, A1, A21. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/health/modern-doctors-house-calls-skype-chat-and-fast-diagnosis.html?_r=0  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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