Call Your Doctor Online: The Future of Medicine?

The medical blogosphere is full of articles dedicated to the pros and cons of online consultation and e-health. I’ve also written tons of posts about online docs. If you’re a patient, would you like to find a doctor online when you have a medical question? If you’re a doctor, would you like to run an online medical practice?

Now I tried to collect the best sites and services that are based on e-visit or maintain virtual offices/practices. Let me know if you know more.

  • Who else could be a better example than Jay Parkinson, the first really online physician?

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He is the chief medical officer at Myca and is working on a new project called Hello Health:

Hello Health is a friendly, branded consumer experience with your accessible neighborhood doctor. We see you in person. We talk with you via the internet. We’re close to home and we’re an email, SMS, or IM away. We take the pain out of going to the doctor. We’re partners with you.

  • Ask Medical Doctor is the second service I would like to share with you. You can ask a medical question and qualified physicians will answer it for free.

  • Medindia: It has currently over 1000 doctors listed on its panel. Doctors will provide you with an online solution to your problem. They do not sell prescription drugs but can give you advice and recommendation on their effectiveness. It’s not for free…

  • American Well: Talk to a doctor anytime, without leaving home or scheduling an appointment. Choose from a variety of specialties and connect with the doctor who is right for you.

  • Medem: “The iHealth service is the first and only suite of fully integrated web-based physician-patient communication services that are proven to effectively engage patients in better managing their health. This comprehensive service can be used by all stakeholders in healthcare — patients, their doctors, hospitals and health systems, health plans, employers, allied professionals and caregivers.”

  • Relay Health: ” RelayHealth is an intelligent network with solutions that improve clinical communication, accelerate care delivery, and drive cash collection by connecting patients, providers, pharmacies, payors and financial institutions. At RelayHealth, we possess unique channel strength across all key segments of healthcare with established leadership in real-time transactions processing, a strong portfolio of transactional businesses, and the stability, trustworthiness, and resources of proven organizations.”

The Spanish Society for Family and Community Medicine (FYC) and the Coalition for Citizens with Chronic Illnesses has setup a service for Spanish teenagers to virtually visit a real doctor in Second Life, the 3D online virtual world. The goal is to provide a space where embarrassing issues can be raised in privacy, without the blushing of a face to face consultation.

  • Consult a Doctor: Consult A Doctor’s mission is to improve health and reduce health care costs by creating innovative consumer-driven health care solutions for employers and individuals that meet their health care needs of today and tomorrow.

  • Healthcare Magic: HealthcareMagic is the world’s first portal allowing a live interaction between doctors and patients over Internet and phone, allowing integrated comparison shopping for health related products and services. HealthcareMagic enables patients, families and friends to share their experiences with a healthcare provider like doctors and hospitals, to research and purchase health care products and services with the same ease and transparency as shopping for other products online.

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These services and projects will play a more than important role in the future of medicine. It’s not a big deal to predict more and more patients will choose the web to communicate with their physicians. What do you think? Is it a correct perspective regarding the patient-doctor relationship?