The E-Doctor is Coming

e-doctorI have 3 kids. They get sick. Generally I could diagnose their ailments. For example one will get pink eye at least once a year. Often I have wished that I could just email the doctor with the symptoms and have them email back a prescription. This was particularly true last month when my daughter needed medication (I knew what kind) in Ireland from her doctor in Minnesota. (No go, we now have doctor in Ireland, where medicine isn’t really free.)

Sometimes I don’t know what they have and then I really wish I could email symptoms. In fact I would email a heck of a lot quicker than visit. Visiting the doctor is inconvenient, kids never get sick during regular hours, and going to the office exposes them to more germs than licking the floor. Heck, if I could email symptoms, I might actually email my own symptoms rather than self medicating with Advil and riding it out.

So I was delighted to see that email health care may be on its way (in the Star tribune, Take two aspirin and e-mail me in the morning). Apparently Dr. Joseph Scherger has arrived from California to talk to Park Nicollet about email visits.

The article and Dr. Scherger say email visits are on their way. At this point, insurance apparently won’t pay full rate for email visits – although I think the time the patient saves makes up for that. Doctors say they miss the eye-to-eye contact. But as the article points out – half the time the doctors don’t have time for that anyways.

I have talked to several doctors that I know about this over the years. At least one mentioned that in this litigious age, there is always a worry of misdiagnosis and malpractice suits, which I understand but I kind of feel like some help is better than none and with email a lot of us would actually communicate more often than we currently do. So I remain cautiously optimistic – and keep my fingers crossed.