By Phil Galewitz
Kaiser Health News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) It was not long ago when telemedicine was mainly used by hospitals and clinics for secure doctor-to-doctor consultations. But today, there is a growing use for patients to receive care at home or wherever they are, even these medical kiosks that are now popping up in workplaces. They’re certainly cheaper.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.
On the day abdominal pain and nausea struck Jessica Christianson at the office, she discovered how far telemedicine has come.
Rushing to a large kiosk in the lobby of the Palm Beach County School District’s administrative building where she works, Christianson, 29, consulted a nurse practitioner in Miami via two-way video. The nurse examined her remotely, using a stethoscope and other instruments connected to the computer station. Then, she recommended Christianson seek an ultrasound elsewhere to check for a possible liver problem stemming from an intestinal infection.
The cost: $15. She might have paid $50 at an urgent care center.
The ultrasound Christianson got later that day confirmed the nurse practitioner’s diagnosis.
“Without the kiosk I probably would have waited to get care and that could have made things worse,” she said.
Endorsements like Christianson’s demonstrate how technology and positive consumer experiences are lending momentum to telemedicine’s adoption in the workplace.
Less than a decade ago, telemedicine was mainly used by hospitals and clinics for secure doctor-to-doctor consultations. But today, telemedicine has become a more common method for patients to receive routine care at home or wherever they are, often on their cellphones or personal computers.
In the past several years, a growing number of employers have provided insurance coverage for telemedicine services enabling employees to connect with a doctor by phone using both voice and video. One limitation of such phone-based services is physicians cannot always obtain basic vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate.