According to the New York Times, Hawaii will be offering online face-to-face doctor visits starting this month. They are working through a service called American Well.
Patients will long into the healthcare provider web site and can schedule visits to last 10 minutes for $10; it’s $45 for the uninsured. Visits can be extended for an added fee. Doctors can file prescriptions and see patient history through the system. The healthcare provider will pay American Well $2 per visit.
They say the service is for the uninsured and folks who can’t be bothered to wait for or travel to appointments. I want to know if I can find a doctor in Hawaii to sign me up. I have been hoping for this for a long time. No more going in to see a doctor with a kid I know has pink eye just to get the medicine.
To be fair, the draw backs are there as the article points out – something might get missed in a webcam that would be caught in the office and many folks will not have the broadband required to take advantage of the system.
I agree on both counts – but I think the number of ailments that get missed will be equal to or more than the number of ailments missed because people couldn’t or wouldn’t take time out for an in-person consultation. And I’d like to see this become a killer app that pushes the demand for broadband. (Killer app doesn’t sound right here – maybe we’ll call it a life changing app.)