Saturday, January 26, 2013

iPhone App Connects You to Nurse or Doctor Anytime

Some progress: "New iPhone App Urgent Care Connects You To A Nurse Or Doctor Anytime".

From the article:
Urgent Care has two main functions: it’s a medical dictionary and encyclopedia, providing direct answers to medical questions, and it also provides instant access to a registered nurse and/or doctor, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service however is only available in the US.
The app is available for free download at the iTunes store.  (There is apparently a small fee for the medical consultation.  Also, I don't know to what extent they can offer advice that is actually useful to patients, without crossing the line into unauthorized practice of medicine.)

We're already seeing more doctors and hospital systems taking advantage of new technologies to provide telemedicine (and teleradiology) services.  For instance, patients in the ER at some small rural hospitals can now have a "virtual consultation" with a neurologist in a major urban medical center, who can then decide if they need to send the medical helicopter to transport the patient urgently to the big hospital.

In my own practice, radiologists now read MRI scans and CT scans 24/7 from multiple states, providing subspecialty expertise to hospitals that previously had to rely only on local physicians.

But we could be seeing much more of this, if regulatory barriers were lowered (including laws making it difficult to practice medicine across state lines or international boundaries).