Experts worry as doctors flock to Skype rather than make house calls

Experts worry as doctors flock to Skype rather than make house calls

Using Skype chat, doctors are eschewing traditional house calls in favor of rapid diagnoses.

Modern conveniences like Skype are now shaking the foundations of the medical community as well, prompting people to seek quick, immediate consultation from doctors in the form of Skype and FaceTime sessions.

It’s a cheaper and more convenient form of medical care, and it removes a lot of the anxiety of going to the doctor, but some in the medical world are wondering whether this is a good thing, according to a Star-Advertiser report.

Dubbed “telemedicine,” this form of consultation with patients may actually result in an increase in costs, some argue, as hands-on exams tend to be more effective and reduce the changes of misdiagnoses.

But it’s hard to buck a trend, and the siren song of easy diagnoses over Skype is hard to resist, both for doctors who don’t have to make a house call and can still bill the patient, and for the patient who doesn’t feel like dragging themselves over to the doctor’s office to be poked and prodded before being handed a prescription.

Still, some governing bodies may be considering taking action against the practice, or at least installing a little regulation. Although some states are embracing “virtual medicine,” others are updating the rules that affect these practices.

Some of the drive toward virtual medicine is driven by good old fashioned competition. Medicine is still a business, and traditional health systems are facing some competition from urgent care centers, retail clinics, and startup companies that are willing to dole out advice via video consultations or through smartphone apps. Some charge just $40 to $50 for a consultation, certainly less than a visit to a doctor’s office.

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