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:
- Those without insurance
- Those with private insurance
- 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.