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Face-to-Face in Medicine


What a great tweet and insight into healthcare. Indeed, most people really underestimate what can be done face-to-face in healthcare. I first realized the value of this when a doctor visited my blog and described to me all of the things a doctor was observing in a face to face office visit. Everything from the way someone breathes, to the way someone sits, to the way someone coughs. It’s amazing how much data is available from just visually seeing the patient.

I agree that face-to-face is the best way to treat a patient. However, can an online video visit accomplish almost all of the upside of face-to-face interactions while minimizing any downsides? I think this is the challenge of telemedicine and something we’re making great strides in accomplishing. Of course it will never be as good as face-to-face, but I think it can get very close.

The other reason I’m a huge fan of the e-visit is that there’s a large percentage of visits where there’s no need for the visual part of the visit. Doctors know that much of the physical part of a patient visit is often just theatrics for the patient. The only reason we’re not doing more e-visits today is that doctors don’t get paid if they do e-visits. If they got paid they’d do many more with the same quality of care.

As we get more and more health sensors constantly tracking our health, we’ll need even less physical interaction to be seen by a doctor. For example, if I’ve been tracking my blood pressure twice a day at home, then is there a need for a patient to go into the doctor to get another blood pressure reading?

We’re just at the very beginning of these health sensors. The next generation doctor will be as good at understanding vast amounts of self generated health data as they are at understanding physical queues. The physical will never leave us completely, but what a doctor will be able to treat virtually will grow exponentially. The face-to-face interaction will just likely be by video instead of in an exam room.

July 29, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Get Peace of Mind and Avoid The ER With Snap.MD

As I was perusing HisTalkMobile.com today, the first article on the page caught my eye. A new start-up from LA aims to decrease ER visits from “worried” moms with telemedicine visits.

According to the article about Snap.md, on average, a new baby visits the doctor’s office about eight times in the first year, and when those visits are to the ER, they definitely could have been avoided. Snap.md plans to connect parents with someone in the Emergency Room for a consultation, within 10 minutes.

We’ve taken my son to the doctor many times in the past eight and half months. While many of those times were actually warranted (our son really is sick, all the time), I think this could be come in handy. Our average wait time at the doctor’s office is about 30-45 minutes, and the ER is even longer (we went a few months ago, and we were three for three hours…before we even saw someone.) This may not be the typical wait (or maybe it is!) but something like this really could cut down on the amount of time wasted going to the ER for things that may not be an emergency. Sometimes, just getting the reassurance from a health professional is all a new mother needs, and I think that is one of the goals behind this.

The article said the company is targeting three different “categories” of parents:

  1. Those without insurance
  2. Those with private insurance
  3. Medicaid families

So, it sounds like, just about anyone! The fee for those without any insurance will be around $60, which is a whole lot less than the going to the Emergency Room. From what I can tell, it looks like medicaid and private insurance companies may cover that cost, or at least, that is the hope I’m guessing. Dave Skibinski, the man behind the company, said the company isn’t trying to replace seeing a physician.

Our goal is not to direct the care. If the patient wants to see their own physician or go to a different ER, that’s fine. The point is to avoid an unnecessary visit to the ER.

In my opinion, that’s a great goal. Perhaps that would clear up the wait time at Emergency Rooms, so those that truly do have an emergency don’t have to wait quite as long.

I do think telemedicine is definitely going to play a prominent role in healthcare in the very near future, and be a significant part of mHealth. Snap.md doesn’t have a lot if information available yet, or even when it’s going to be released, but it looks like contracts have already been negotiated with a few different children’s hospitals in California, with plans to expand. I sure hope this comes to my town.

November 23, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.