Whether you live in a country where health care is provided or not, a trip to the hospital or clinic can be time consuming, and when you’re sick, the sooner you start treating your illness the better. That is where Online Care Group comes in. They are a part of American Well, who provide the service of telehealth, the practice of diagnosing patients over the phone, and now offer the possibility to conduct a diagnosis over video chat for $49.
“We really feel we’re developing a whole new way of practicing medicine, and it’s exciting,” said Dr. Peter Antali, who is Online Care Group’s medical director.
Now while the idea of having your diagnosis made over the video chat will raise concerns, the most important of which is the accuracy of the diagnosis, the quality of video chats are rapidly improving, and the fact that many mobile phones now have this ability is pragmatic as well.
There is also the fact that there are many out there who are hypochondriacs, or if not fully one, are neurotic enough to go to the hospital or clinic whenever they feel the slightest bit sick. This lengthens wait times only for the person to find out that nothing is wrong and in a world where are population is growing at the rate that it is this will only get worse. In that sense the idea of telehealth could help, as well as allow those who are infected to stay away from others.
Dr. Theresa Myers, who is employed by Online Care Group, still works at a hospital and sees telehealth as simply another option.
“I guarantee that not a single person who practices telemedicine would say this is a replacement of traditional medicine,” she said. “This is an extension of traditional model care. With telemedicine, we can appropriately triage patients to higher levels of care needed to avoid preventable negative outcomes, which includes direct and indirect costs. We’re constantly talking about how our health care system is drained, how we overspend, and this is a way we can do things more effectively and efficiently.”
What do you think? Is this a service you think you would use if you were sick? Let us know in the comments below.