Blog | Thursday, May 13, 2010

QD--News Every Day: Doctors delivering diagnoses online

Your doctor is now online and prescribing. Texas internists are enrolling in a service that sets them up to consult with patients over the Internet for $45 for 10-minute stretches. Telemedicine proponents play it up as a way of alleviating unneeded ER visits, for the uninsured who can't get to a doctor, or for rural areas that don't otherwise have physicians.

The doctors accept the limitations of telemedicine and their limited role. They diagnose conditions that wouldn't normally need a hands-on visit. They won't prescribe controlled substances, or may prescribe just enough of other kinds of drugs to get a patient through the weekend, for example.

Is "doc in a box" a good thing? The Texas Medical Board is adapting its telemedicine policies to address the changing practice modality.

There's no mention of how much the doctors are reimbursed per consult, either. But there's easier ways for doctors to make money online. (Kansas City Star, CNN)