Internet Visits With Doctors Can Beat Office Appointments

| August 24, 2008

There is an interesting story by Benjamin Brewer, MD on WSJ.com that contrasts my post last week about physicians mocking telemedicine options via the Internet. The story starts:

"My patient probably would have rather been anywhere else. He and his wife were in my office to discuss his erectile dysfunction for the first time.

He looked uncomfortable. For a guy who doesn’t go to the doctor much, a medical office can seem as foreign and intimidating as the dark side of the moon.

His exam was normal, but he needed to quit smoking. Would it have been easier for you to fill out a questionnaire on the Internet and skip the office visit? I asked. "You bet," he replied.

The way I see it, he didn’t really need to come in at all. He needed a risk assessment for heart disease, a prescription for medication, counseling and help with stopping smoking. The results would have been the same online or in person."

Dr. Brewer goes on to make the claim there is little or no data to support face to face visits for some conditions and telehealth options may be suitable that will be as effective and more cost protective.

The story closes with the following line:

Due to his schedule and the volume of email he receives, Dr. Brewer may not be able to respond to all reader email. He does participate in his forum, where readers are urged to post. His email address is thedoctorsoffice@wsj.com.

So next time the commercial closes with "talk to your doctor" consider e-mailing him or her.


Category: TeleHealth

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