Sometime in the last century, most professionals discovered that face-to-face meetings with clients weren’t always necessary — or even desirable. Lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects and scores of other professional service providers discovered the phone. Then they discovered email. Then video conferencing.
But not doctors. Most doctors today communicate with their patients the same way the Greek physician Galen did 2,000 years ago: one on one, in person.
Why is that?
One reason is unwise legislation. Another is resistance to change by the American Medical Association and state medical societies. A third reason is Medicare, whose payment practices tend to be copied by most employers and private insurers. But the biggest problem is that rank-and-file doctors have been unwilling to step into the modern age.
Thanks to the most recent legislative session, Texas became the last state in the union to allow doctors to consult by phone with patients they have never met. And that only came about after a long, hard struggle.
Take the case of Teladoc, a Dallas-based firm that provides telephone consultations to nearly 11 million patients nationwide. Say you are on a business trip and your allergy prescription runs out. You put in a call to Teladoc, and within […]