”It’s 2 a.m. You wake up to discover your 3-year-old daughter has a high fever. What do you do? Today, your options are limited. You can call the pediatrician only to reach the answering service, which instructs you to dial 911 in case of an emergency. You can drive 20 minutes to the emergency department where you and your daughter could wait several hours. Or you can endure a sleepless night until you can reach a doctor the next morning. But what if a pediatrician could come to your house and advise you what to do? It could happen today. But it wouldn’t be a traditional house call... … If you’ve ever used Skype to talk face-to-face with a loved one across the country, you understand how technology can eliminate distance and time. As a parent, how much would you pay for the ability to reach your doctor instantly? How would you feel if such a service reduced – rather than increased – what you’re paying now for your health care? It could happen. Video creates the potential for doctors to achieve economies of scale. Meaning, a small number of physicians can provide high-quality medical care to a large number of patients – and for much less than providing that same care in their offices. For many patients, this convenience would be “priceless.” Imagine: Instead of having to leave work so a doctor can look at a rash, a patient would be able to send a digital photo to a dermatologist who could immediately diagnose the cause and send an electronic prescription to the nearest pharmacy… …What about when a man’s back pain flares up during a trip abroad? He could go to the local emergency room and hope there is a translator who speaks English. Or he could obtain advice from his physician back home through a video consultation“
Dr Robert Pearl MD, CEO of The Permanente Medical Group – the largest medical group in the USA, contributing to Forbes.com.
The article also highlights the major barrier to mHealth innovation that arises from inflexible out of date approaches that are being taken by reimbursement systems that are designed by people who haven’t yet realised that it’s not just office visits that Patients need:
“What’s stifling these medical innovations is the reimbursement system. If you are paid to see patients in your office, then that is what you do – even if virtual care could be provided twice as conveniently at half the price”
Note: By making Mobile Video Consultations with Doctors available directly to Patients at an affordable inclusive one off cost (only £35 per documented video consultation) at 3G Doctor we’ve made the Patient the customer and avoided the need to educate and wait for healthcare payers to change their mindsets.