The Doctor is In...Your Inbox

healthcareinternet.png It seems that web cams aren't just for YouTubers and oversea conference calls anymore. According to a recent New York Times article, starting today doctors will begin making appointments over the web with patients living in Hawaii. Pioneered by American Well, this new service will allow both insured and uninsured residents to take advantage of a wide range of medical care previously unavailable to them due to geographical constraints.

As time goes on, more and more services are being relegated to web-based platforms, increasing the distance between consumer and merchant. All of us have sat for hours on phone trees leading nowhere, and help lines where speaking with an actual person is like finding the Maltese Falcon. It seems that American Well, however, has taken web technologies so far that they've actually wrapped back around to how things used to be done- face to face.

This service seems like a great hypothetical concept, but only time will tell if the method is viable given today's technology. I am a little wary, also, that American Well's product only works if you have access to a high-speed internet connection, and are tech-savvy enough to figure out the ins and outs of the website. Barring these hitches, however, American Well seems to have hit upon something here. The low cost (even for the uninsured an appointment is only $45) and the wide variety of doctors available to those made immobile by sickness are great advantages, and (at least hypothetically) point to the growth of a revised health care system in this country. Whether it is completely successful or not, though, American Well is the kind of new idea I think donors should be looking to support, as each progressive thought thrown into the mix is one step closer to real progress.

Dana Variano

Posted at 1:00 AM, Jan 15, 2009 in Health | Permalink | Comment

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