Wednesday, November 28, 2007

TelaDoc Market Solution: The Doctors Is Always In

Health care entrepreneurs working outside the traditional health insurance payment system are using telephone, e-mail, text messaging and innovative computer software to make medical care more accessible and convenient for patients, according to a new study by the National Center for Policy Analysis titled "Convenient Care and Telemedicine."

Approximately 1 million patients are now subscribers to a nationwide service operated by TelaDoc Medical Services. For a low $35 consultation fee, enrollees can talk to a doctor by phone, any time day or night.

Conclusion:Telemedicine provides important new opportunities to improve health care in the 21st century. Telemedicine is safe, efficient and convenient for both patients and providers. It is often the method preferred by patients who demand timely access to their doctors. And it is a method endorsed by a growing number of doctors who understand its potential. Other industries have taken advantage of information technology to benefit consumers in numerous ways. It is time that health care does the same.


At 11/28/2007 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the concept. It allows the delivery of cost effective care by allowing patient contact without the use of expensive ancillary staff (MA's, receptionists, etc), and usually ends up with very acceptible care, though it does have some limitations.

The major holdup is the 3rd party payer culture. Because there is reimbursement for face to face visits, but not telephone contact, there is every incentive to limit phone contact and promote mandatory office visits for even minor complaints.

I'm sure there is fear of increased medical legal liability, though this is unlikely with adequate documentation.

B. England MD

At 11/29/2007 10:43 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

$35 to "talk to a doc" is rarely an adequate treatment model. Being able to see the patient is critical to the assessment process. Telemedicine, being able to see and speak to the patient via the internet, was hailed as a killer app as early as 1994, but little to no progress has been made. The predominant system for remote communications is based on very expensive hardware, and uses a closed network, requiring users to go to a designated location.

There are three driving themes to be addressed before widespread adoption of telemedicine technology is possible. First, any successful technology must be simple enough that a doctor and patient, regardless of past computer experience, can use the system. Second, access to communication must be available from anywhere at any time. Finally, solutions must be made available at a fraction of the cost of current options.

Until these three areas are addressed, adoption of telemedicine technologies will continue to be slow at best.

Medical Technology CEO

At 12/01/2007 1:51 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I was thinking more along the lines of more extensive use of phone appointments for selected problems. Many follow ups, such as depression management, crunching home glucose numbers, etc. don't require a physical exam, and could easily be done over the phone.

Ancillary staff are a huge portion of overhead expenses for physicians, and if care could be provided utilizing fewer employee hours that would mean cheaper costs for patients, better margins for doctors and lower payments for third party payers. Everyone wins.


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