Until the 1940’s, doctors made house calls to patients, treating colds and flus, delivering babies, even performing surgeries. It was also a time when companies began offering health benefits in order to compete for workers. With the high cost of house calls and the benefits of treating multiple patients, doctors started seeing patients more and more in their offices and hospitals. The current model of healthcare was established and for the most part, was structured to fit within the confines of medical plans. That paradigm is making a huge shift with the advancement of many technologies, and in many ways, is becoming more personalized.
The advent of telemedicine is a house call–Star Trek style. You can visit a doctor once you download an app, and your medical issue could be resolved through a live-video chat/doctor visit. A video visit with a board-certified doctor is just a click away and you can be treated for a variety of common conditions like cold and flu, skin issues, sports injuries and eye issues. Emergent and chronic issues are better left to your in-person physician, though a mental health visit in the privacy of your own home to discuss stress, depression or anxiety could be just what you need. With a video doctor visit, just like an in-person visit, you can expect to receive an assessment, diagnosis and prescription (if needed.)
According to Michael Nova, MD, Chief Innovation Officer at Pathway Genomics, “A vast majority of patients report that they want to be able to communicate with their doctors through email, phone calls and video chats. On average, Americans spend 2.4 billion hours a year making doctors visits. Telemedicine saves time and has endless potential in making healthcare available to those in remote areas or to patients with limited resources.”