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Virtual Visits To Doctors Spreading 215

tresho writes to tell us that virtual doctors visits seem to be on the rise. A new service, most recently deployed in Texas, from "NowClinic" is allowing doctors to make virtual house calls and prescribe anything short of controlled substances. "For $45, anyone in Texas can use NowClinic, whether or not they are insured, by visiting Doctors hold 10-minute appointments and can file prescriptions, except for controlled substances. Eventually they will be able to view patients’ medical histories if they are available. The introduction of NowClinic will be the first time that online care has been available nationwide, regardless of insurance coverage."
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Virtual Visits To Doctors Spreading

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  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @04:17PM (#30516222)

    Right, there's already a good free alternative: Yahoo Answers

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @04:19PM (#30516256)

    How is Babby formed?

    How girl get pregnant?

    (captcha : excavate)

  • by Liquidrage ( 640463 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @04:34PM (#30516434)
    Can you show me where the "Prescribe Meds" button on Yahoo Answers is?
  • by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @04:46PM (#30516572) Journal

    As a patient, and it pains me deeply to say this... I'd have to agree with a lawyer.

    There. I said it. I agree with a lawyer on something. I'm going to hell now.

    But seriously, we use our insurance company's "dial-a-nurse" service and it works well if you have some idea of what is wrong with you and just want some "best practices" advice, like "I have either a cold or the flu, can you help me determine which it is, and what symptoms I would indicate that I should see my doctor as opposed to drinking plenty of fluids and staying home?"

    I can see a service like this being useful for other minor ailments that are relatively easy to diagnose based on clear symptoms, but that require medications that need a prescription. I'd hope that any doctor who was concerned about it being "maybe this or maybe that" wouldn't just take a guess (or render a medical opinion beyond their training) and hide behind some special immunity from lawsuit. But that doesn't mean I'd want to extend that immunity. If you're unsure of your diagnosis because you can't get enough information, the correct answer would be "I cannot help you, proceed to an in-person clinic in your area, this will be a no-charge courtesy call, 'kthanksbye!"

    I'm not saying that a service like this would be useless, but if a good relatively confident diagnosis is not practical, the answer is to refer the patient to an in-person diagnosis, NOT to protect the doctor from indemnity if they made a diagnosis based on insufficient data because the tools they chose to use couldn't give them the data they needed.

    Of course, that argument also leads down the slippery slope of requiring an MRI for a splinter removal as a lawsuit-prevention device, but any doctor who chooses to use "telediagnosis" should be aware of the limits of the technology and adjust their confidence in their diagnosis accordingly.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @05:01PM (#30516738) Journal

    It's like a whole 'nother country.

    Actually I have a funny story about that. I called Dell once upon a time to get a warranty replacement for a power supply that had gone up in smoke. My company has a support agreement with them and is supposed to receive priority support from Americans. Somehow I wound up in the queue talking to the morons from New Delhi. That went something like this:

    Heavy Indian Accent: Thank you so much for calling Dell, my name is "Bob" (yeah, I bet it is buddy....), how many I assist you?
    Me: *sigh* (well, might as well give it a shot) "Yeah, I have a bad power supply here and I need to get a replacement for it."
    Tech Guy: Yes, yes, I am understanding that you have a bad power supply. Please insert the system diagnostics CD into the CD-ROM drive.
    Me: I can't do that. When I plug the system in sparks come out of the back.
    Tech Guy: Yes, yes, I am understanding your problem, please insert the system diagnostics CD into the CD-ROM drive.
    Me: No, you don't understand, I can't plug the system in, the power supply failed.
    Tech Guy: Please insert the system diagnostics CD into the CD-ROM drive.
    Me: (trying different tack) I can't get the CD-ROM drive to open.
    Tech Guy: Yes, I understand, is the computer plugged into the wall outlet?
    Me: (back to square one) No, sparks will come out of it.
    Tech Guy: Please insert the system diagnostics CD into the CD-ROM drive.
    Me: *click*

    So I call them back and go through the same exact menu system. Somehow I wind up with an American this time. He had the thickest Texan drawl that I've ever heard in my life.

    Tech Guy: Thanks for calling Dell, my name is John, how may I help you?
    Me: John, are you in the United States?
    John: No sir! I'm in Texas.

    Needless to say I knew I had somebody on the phone that I could do business with ;)

    Amazingly enough he didn't ask me to use the system diagnostics CD either. I don't know how he was able to troubleshoot my "sparks are coming out of the back of it" problem without the assistance of the system diagnostics CD, but somehow he managed.....

  • by alrudd1287 ( 1288914 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @05:07PM (#30516794)
    dude- whatever. if this stuff is actually needed, the person over the net will say GO TO A DOCTOR. This sounds like a GREAT idea from a cost-savings perspective, which is the only one that matters here. Often, patients go in for an appointment with a drug in mind that they just need a script for. Like if i have poison ivy, i need steroids because in the past the topical stuff hasn't worked. If I don't get it the first time then i'll have to go in a 2nd time... costing me or my insurance something like 150$ each. clearly an online person could save alot of money here
  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @05:18PM (#30516958) Journal

    The business support people are very good in my experience. I've had issues with Windows Server that Microsoft couldn't figure out but there was always some Dell guy at Level 3 that could come up with a solution. Figure that one out.

    The consumer support group sucks donkey balls. It absolutely amazes me that I can buy a Lenovo (Chinese company) off the shelf and get an American on the phone but if I buy a Dell (American company) off the shelf I wind up talking to New Delhi. WTF is wrong with that picture?

    Maybe we should all welcome our Chinese overlords, because apparently they can afford to pay us to work for them.....

  • by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Monday December 21, 2009 @05:19PM (#30516970)

    Hell, I remember when Dell was ranked at the top of customer service ratings in PC magazines.

  • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @05:44PM (#30517262)
    You remember PC magazines? Is that what they had before web sites? You must be old.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard