Telemedicine Starts with the Doctor's Voice

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , August 7, 2012

Which leaves us with voice: The telephone may be Gordon's most important piece of technology. It is the tool he uses to consult with patients.  And he says, it's working.

"What I have found out since I started [with Consult A Doctor] was the absolute utility and advancement of bringing medical care to individuals that otherwise likely would have held off until the last minute, or gotten no care at all, if they didn't have this opportunity," Gordon says.

"Either it was too costly, or they don't have a doctor, or going to the emergency department is not in the offing, or there's no proximity for them to be able to do that."

Gordon would love to do more work with Consult A Doctor, but he says the company has all the physicians it needs right now for the work available. Gordon has other sources of income, so it's okay, he says. "I'm open one to two days a week, low-acuity stuff, more second opinion-type help for them than primary treatment."  Payment from Consult A Doctor is made from a set schedule. "The money is okay money, but I would say that it's the least important part of it."

Because he is also licensed to practice in the state of Mississippi, Gordon gets a number of Consult A Doctor cases from that state. "There are a lot of underserved patients," he says. "Half of them don't have regular insurance, so to give you an example, when they call up, and they need an antibiotic, I have to work with them and figure out, which is the cheapest that will work.

"So I have to call Walmart for the $4 prescription, and talk to the pharmacist and go through what their formulary is, so we can come up with an antibiotic that will work that's not overly expensive for the patient.

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