Are Consumers Ready For Telemedicine?

By Mike Freeman
The San Diego Union-Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Telemedicine companies that enable physicians to treat patients remotely through video conferencing are gaining acceptance. Instead of making an appointment in advance and sitting in a waiting room, patients can beam out a request to a group of health providers via a website or mobile app. Could this be a good thing for time-strapped women in business? Not sure yet.

SAN DIEGO

Is health care going the way of Uber?

Though it may sound far-fetched, seeing a doctor could move in that direction if telemedicine gains more acceptance, according to health technology experts.

Instead of making an appointment in advance and sitting in a waiting room, patients could beam out a request to a group of health providers via a website or mobile app. The first doctor to respond gets the visit, which is then conducted on a smartphone or computer.

That service, called Ask Me, is available today from Boston-based American Well, one of several telemedicine companies that enable physicians to treat patients remotely through video conferencing.

“When we think about consumers in 2016, what don’t we do online?” said Dr. Peter Antall, chief medical officer of American Well. “We watch movies. We buy airplane tickets. We buy books. The Uberization of heath care, accessing practitioners in an Uber-like manner,  it sounds crazy. But it’s actually happening.”

Antall spoke about the changing landscape of consumer health care during the 21st annual Frost & Sullivan Medical Technologies conference in March in San Diego. The event highlighted technology trends that could reshape medicine in coming years. Topics ranged from the promise of telemedicine to medical technology companies tapping common mobile devices/apps for certain medical procedures.

Telemedicine has grabbed headlines recently as American Well, Teladoc, MDLive, Doctor on Demand and other companies have built technology platforms to enable online doctor visits.

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