Re: Overlooking A Promising Form of Remote Care
Roger and Diana, excellent points. I agree that ideally, every one would have regular access to a primary care physician but as Diana notes, this isn't feasible for everyone (e.g. poor, rural, immobile patients). Roger you're correct that the AMA guidelines view an audio-only interaction as insuffucient to establish the necessary patient-provider relationship to thereafter provide treatment via remote means. I understand why the AMA has taken this position and recognize its efforts to protect patients. But, I'd like to see a more flexible approach on the means for establishing a patient-provider relationship. Again, the example of the sophisticated, algorithm-based online clinic, which does not rely on real-time interaction, but rather, store-and-forward electronic communications, if set up correctly, can provide sufficient protection for patients. I'm aware of several of these online clinics operating throughout the country with great success -- i.e., they have increased access and lowered costs. Mind you, these online clinics are used to treat more common ailments such as the flu, etc. and have features that recommend that a patient see a provider in-person if the ailment warrants it. I just see these online clinics as a great way to handle more common ailments without requiring patient travel, expensive office visits, etc.