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August 16, 2011 > High tech house calls

High tech house calls

Submitted By Stacey Hilton

In an acute situation, chances are you don't have time to sit all day in a doctor's office. Enter the high tech house call, a video appointment with a doctor. You talk about your health problem via web cam and medicine can be prescribed right then and there; no in-person appointment necessary.

Doctors Express is test piloting this new technology called MeMD - a high tech and convenient way for patients to "see" a doctor and prescribe medicine without going into the office for a physical exam. It's one more way Doctors Express Urgent Care Centers are answering the country's demand for quick, convenient and affordable health care.

"We want to be at the forefront of virtual healthcare technology," says Dr. Scott Burger, co-founder of Doctors Express who is using MeMD in his urgent care facility in Towson, MD. "MeMD is for patients who wants the opinion of a doctor but don't have the time or aren't sure their medical issue is critical enough to go in and see the doctor."

Say your son has a rash and you want to know if it's serious, but you're unable to bring him into the doctor's office right away. You would connect with the system online and it will direct you to a provider of MeMD services. A physician will receive notice on their office computer that a patient is waiting. Doctor and patient are connected by a Web Cam to discuss the situation, show the rash and make an assessment followed by appropriate action... go to an emergency room, get a topical first aid cream at the pharmacy, don't worry about it, etc.

"Virtual visits can never completely replace the care of a physical examination," says Dr. Burger. "However, it is a valuable resource for patients who know what they're suffering from and want a quick consult and prescription for minor ailments such as sinus infections and rashes. If we can't diagnose the problem via webcam, we ask the patient to come in. We don't take any chances."

A pilot study at Massachusetts General Hospital put "web cam" doctor visits to the test. First, patients made a virtual visit to their physician, followed by a hands-on physical examination. The study found 87% of patients tested said they would recommend video conference visits to friends as a way to save time.

For more information about Doctors Express, visit

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