Vadim Antonov wrote:

I definitely would NOT want to see my doctor over a video link when I need
him. The technology is simply not up to providing realistic telepresense,
and a lot of diagnostically relevant information is carried by things like
smell and touch, and little details. So telemedicine is a poor substitute
for having a doctor on site; and should be used only when it is
absolutely the only option (i.e. emergency on an airplane, etc).

If you are really ill, this is true but there are always gray areas that go into the decision whether the ‘illness’ is worth a visit. Physicians often order things for patients they know based upon a phone call or even e-mail if they feel reasonably comfortable. I think that there are lots of situations that a physician would recommend “just keep Johnny home for a couple days, give him plenty of fluids and [fill in the blank] — call me in two days if he isn’t feeling better.” Having live video of Johnny is a pretty good supplement to voice, or for that matter the receptionist could record the video call for the physician and he could play it back when he has a few minutes. It’s potentially even more important with elderly shut-ins, because bringing them in can be difficult and expensive and their immune systems are typically weaker so you should try to minimize their exposure to people with contagious diseases.


A much more real world example is in Heart medicine. I worked on a system
that used ds1's between hospitals. Say you have hospital A which is a
major institution and h ou have hospital B which is more remote and has
fewer skilled Doctors etc. Using a standard such as Dicom a Dr in
Hospital B. can send your cath image to a specialist in Hospital A. That
specialist can do a study and determine with the primary Doctor in
hospital B. the best course of action. Also, should it be critical your
x-rays or cath images have already arrived at Hospital A. while you are in
the air being rapidly transported to A from B. The team can already be
planning and up o spead on your condition by the time you arrive saving
in this case minutes and minutes and seconds count. Your Doctor in B.
also can be kept up to speed and have his reco records updated from A s

Its a very real situation one that Heartlab Inc. helped design and worked
really well. Also don't forget that most Major hospitals use ATM even to
the desk top. They can provide telemedicine services very easily over the
wide area but in many cases these are not over the public IP backbone but
rather over their own network.

What happened to the gool ol' house calls?