Will Your Doctor be Digital This Year?

Virtual office suite

Could your next doctor’s appointment be at the grocery store? According to Fox News, the future might be closer than you think thanks to telemedicine advancements.

HealthSpot is a recent invention that allows patients to speak with healthcare providers in real time, whether it’s in a grocery store, at a university, or even at your place of employment. The walk-in kiosk uses high-definition video and audio conferencing in order to allow providers to obtain a medical history and list of symptoms, and perform basic medical exams using what is provided through the kiosk station. Digital medical devices on hand include blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, scales and a stethoscope.

Telemedicine is the latest advancement in patient care, and it’s hopefully in the process of closing some of the gaps that exist in the U.S. healthcare system. Already, Parkinson’s patients are experiencing the advantages of using virtual office setups in order to connect with doctors. About 40% of Parkinson’s patients in the U.S. do not currently see a specialist, and in many cases, it’s because of the long distances required to reach them. Virtual office solutions for care providers can also reach patients for whom waiting times, scheduling, or even fear might be prohibiting them from going to a regular medical clinic.

So far, HealthSpot seems to have been working well in its pilot location, which is run through the Cleveland Clinic’s Family Health Center. One patient, Sandra Robertson, stopped for for cough treatment, and found the service useful. “Normally I have ‘doctoritis’ but it didn’t take effect today. So my blood pressure stayed average, so that was good,” she explained. The visits take about 15 minutes on average, and are intended to treat non-serious ailments such as sore throats, skin conditions, the flu, and earaches.

In a recent survey of 11 industrialized countries, U.S. healthcare offerings ranked dead last for quality and efficiency. One issue many Americans have encountered with healthcare is that it is difficult to access at times — not only are appointments often scheduled during work hours, but there is a dearth of primary care providers, making it difficult to schedule an appointment at all. Virtual office setups for medical care can potentially make it easier for patients to reach doctors, especially because they could choose from a wider range of options, with distance not being an issue.

Would you consider using virtual office suites when you need to see a doctor? Let us know in the comments. Read more.

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