The Virtual ER Is Here Today, Saving Time and Money
Friday, August 23, 2013
Posted by: Stat Doctors
Twenty years ago, I predicted that when the exponential and
predictable progress of processing power, storage, and bandwidth—what I
called the three digital accelerators—reached the levels we would have
by 2010, we’d start seeing virtual hospitals, which would lower costs,
improve efficiency, and ultimately change healthcare. In my latest New York Times best seller Flash Foresight, I wrote that the digital accelerators are now here, and so is the virtual ER.
course, a virtual ER can’t treat broken legs or emergencies that need
hands-on medical procedures. But every day there are a large number of
people in U.S. hospital ER waiting rooms who don’t need that sort of
high-level medical attention.
A number of years ago, an ER doctor
named Dr. Alan Roga was working his shift and noticed that there were a
lot of patients using the ER for non-emergency treatment. This is
expensive and time consuming for everyone involved, the hospital as well
as the patient. Dr. Roga wondered, "How many illnesses are routinely
treated in the ER that don’t require hands-on diagnosis and treatment?
What kinds of things could I diagnose and treat by just seeing someone
via a video connection, hearing their symptoms, and reviewing their
medical history?” He knew he was on to something.
It didn’t take
long to validate his thinking. Statistics from health insurance
companies as well as a National Ambulatory Medical Care survey reveled
that of the 136 million annual ER visits, over 66% are non-emergencies.
In addition, 70% of patients do not have same-day access to their
doctor, and the average ER visit costs $2,028.
Soon after, Dr.
Roga created Stat Doctors. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Stat Doctors is a
virtual ER offering anytime, anywhere care that can treat conditions
such as allergies, arthritic pain, asthma, bronchitis, cold and flu, ear
infections, insect bites, pink eye, rashes, respiratory infection,
sinusitis, sore throat, sprains and strains, sports injuries, skin
inflammation or cellulitis, and many more. All of these conditions and
more can be treated using the virtual ER.
Stat Doctors is a
web-based virtual ER. Currently, a hospital, healthcare provider or
employer signs up for Stat Doctors and then puts all of their members or
employees into the Stat Doctors system. To date, Stat Doctors has
developed an impressive track record of not only dramatically lower
costs, but they also serve patients far better as evidenced by their
high patient satisfaction scores. In fact, 98% of their patients say
they would recommend and use Stat Doctors again. Stat Doctors has a
national network comprised solely of board certified emergency room
doctors and many now practice telemedicine full time. And in the future,
I would predict that they will offer individuals the ability to enroll
and have access to their service directly.
I recently used Stat
Doctors because I had the first signs of a sinus infection, and I had to
fly out to Asia the next day to give a speech. My doctor’s office did
not have any openings to see me, so I decided to try Stat Doctors. I had
already pre-registered and given them my medical history. So all I had
to do was log-in. And since the service is available 24/7, I didn’t need
an appointment. Within 10 minutes I was connected to a board certified
emergency room MD.
During that 10 minute wait, the doctor was
reviewing my medical history, and I was reading his bio so I knew who
I’d be speaking to. When the 10 minutes was up, a SKYPE-like video on my
laptop turned on and I was connected to the doctor via visual
communications. I told the doctor my symptoms. He determined that I had a
viral sinus infection and that I didn’t need a prescription, but he did
recommend some helpful over-the-counter medications. I followed through
on the suggestion and by the next day I was already feeling better and
on my way to Asia.
If I had needed a prescription, I would have
selected a local pharmacy and I would have been able to pick up my
prescription in a few hours.
I thought the system was fantastic.
Even better, my out-of-pocket cost was only $50, a fraction of the
$2,028 I would have paid if I had gone to the ER. Plus I didn’t have to
drive anywhere. I did the visit from the comfort of my home. I could’ve
done it from a hotel room, from an airport, or anywhere. Best of all, I
didn’t have to wait in a hospital ER or be exposed to other people’s
Stat Doctors is a pioneer in visualizing emergency
room service. And thanks to smart phones, health apps, and diagnostic
sensors that plug into the smart phone, we’ll be doing more and more
remote health diagnostics in the near future. In fact, in a few more
years, it will be common for doctors to once again make house calls …
only it’ll all be done virtually.
Original Source from DANIEL BURRUS - http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130805144637-48342529-the-virtual-er-is-here-today-saving-time-and-money?trk=tod-posts-art-