Doctor’s house calls have gone hi-tech. Hundreds of thousands of patients across the United States are now seeing their doctor online. One estimate shows about 400,000 consumers used online medical services last year.
Pam Ragland knew it was time to see a doctor, but instead of taking a trip to the doctor’s office, she logged onto her computer at home. After less than 15 minutes in a virtual waiting room, she was connected to Dr. Moses Nasser, a medical provider for telemedicine company MeMD.
A virtual doctor’s visit like this cost about $45 and some insurance companies cover it. The visits are only recommended for patients with minor health problems like bites and stings, cough, sore throat or headaches. Pam is a working single mother with very little free time, so seeing a doctor online was the right prescription. After going through Pam’s history and symptoms, Dr. Moses determined she had a sinus infection and was able to write her a prescription. For Pam, a working single mother with very little free time, seeing a doctor online was the right prescription – but she’ll have to leave her house to pick her medicine. Doctors caution that seeing a healthcare provider online is not a replacement for having a primary care physician or for making annual visits to your doctor for routine check-ups.