You would be surprised at just how many offices are going digital these days. For many people, virtual office solutions have brought a surprising twist: digital doctor visits.
What are virtual offices? This is when doctors use the internet to connect with patients in their own home, rather than requiring them to drive to a medical location. The virtual house call is the latest trend in new patient options, and it provides several conveniences that patients prize. It’s a lot more pleasant to wait in your own home than in a germ-infested doctor’s office, and it can help connect doctors to patients who might otherwise have difficulty reaching them.
“Why can’t we provide care to people wherever they are?” Dr. Ray Dorsey, a University of Rochester Medical Center, wants to know. He points out that he understands the hurdles patients face — he routinely deals with Alzheimer patients who are disoriented by large, unfamiliar medical centers. He notes that approximately 40% of patients do not visit specialists because they live too far away. Virtual office solutions for doctors can help connect these patients with quality care, in the familiarity of their own home.
Other doctors are exploring the option as well. Many psychiatrists are interested in seeing whether follow-up counseling is as effective when done through the patient’s home computer, rather than an in-person experience.
This virtual office service is gaining ground, even with insurers. Currently, the field is still working out the bumps — Medicare covers some forms of telehealth, but not others. And doctors who practice video-chat visits have to be licensed in any state their patients are residing, not just their own. While telemedicine isn’t the right choice for everyone and for every condition — fully furnished offices will always exist for patients — virtual checkups can have handy implications for medical options of the future. Visiting a doctor could be as easy as pulling out a smartphone.
How would you feel about getting a doctor’s checkup over the internet? Let us know in the comments. Research more like this.