Saturday, March 31, 2012

Your doctor at a click of a mouse

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — What if you got sick at work? The fastest way to see the doctor may be on a computer screen.

A work clinic for UPMC employees in Uptown is one of 12 that has this kind of program up and running. The plan is to have all 12 UPMC workplace clinics equipped like this within two years.
I think in the ideal world, face to face is best,” says Dr. Donald Fischer of Highmark, “but there are certainly times where a call to a physician or care provider could handle what you need to have handled.”

For employees with urgent issues after hours, Highmark is experimenting with a program called Teladoc, where you could call for a consultation at midnight, for example, and the doctor would call you back within minutes.

“We’re going to trial it to see what the member satisfaction is from doing that, what the potential cost is, and how it ties in to quality and cost,” says Dr. Fischer.

These alternative types of doctor visits are not meant to replace primary care, but rather, they are to supplement primary care when the office is closed.

These programs aren’t available to everyone right now. You have to be an employee or member, but the idea is to find out what works and then they might open up in more locations to the greater population.

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