Many of us drag ourselves to our physicians’ offices when we are so dizzy and queasy that we have no business driving a car. How would we feel if we could call a doctor about our cold and flu symptoms, that nagging cough or the rash we just discovered rather than going to his office?
This is the new world of virtual care. Known commonly as TelaDoc, we can call a doctor, point the screen of a smart phone to our throats and say “AHHHH”. Certainly this is not going to work in every situation, but it is wonderful when our condition is easy to describe and easy to diagnose. The doctor can even call a prescription in to the local pharmacy and we may experience less harrowing times on the road as someone besides the sick person drives to pick it up.
I recently had a conversation with a client who went to the emergency room to ask about a rash and paid $1600 to find out it was shingles. Surely, that could have been diagnosed by smart phone and this individual could have been spared the trauma of the emergency visit as well as the huge medical bill.
Virtual care often has little to no access cost or copay responsibility which may also encourage those of us who tough out nagging symptoms to seek help before something minor turns into something major.
Looking at the bigger picture, these services could save us around $10 Billion per year of claims costs and also address the predicted shortage of tens of thousands of primary care physicians in the near future.
Currently the model most readily available uses physicians who are in private practice, but who contract to be on call at specific times. In the future we may be able to interface with our personal physicians in this way and also increase the information we share electronically. As we become more comfortable with virtual uploading of information we may be able to share updates with our providers before arriving for in person visits. Our provider / patient relationship may produce more valuable results as we are able to share symptoms and changes in how we feel in real time rather than trying to remember multiple months of variations at our occasional in person visits.
So let us all keep an open mind as new ways of communicating with medical providers are introduced into our lives. The benefits could be remarkable for all of us.
Want to know more? Contact us at Czajkowski Dumpel & Associates, Inc. via phone, email, face time, text or in person!! We are here to help!