Doctors using Skype to transform medical practice
Thanks to Jim Courtney at Voice on the Web for his comprehensive coverage of two incredible Skype case studies – featuring a psychiatrist and a plastic surgeon whose practices have been transformed by Skype.
In an ABC news report, Dr Spero Thodorou, a plastic surgeon from New York, and Dr Loren Olson, a psychiatrist from Iowa, shared their views (Dr Olsen on a Skype video call) about how Skype has changed the way they work.
Jim Courtney says:
Psychiatrist Dr Loren Olson had started using Skype for calls to his grandchildren and then realized that he could use it (i) for routine follow up ‘med-check’ visits with both urban and rural patients and (ii) for clinical consultations with a team of medical providers in a rural area. Amongst his points in the interview:
- The need [for using Skype] in the cities relates to getting the 50% of mentally ill patients who do not have access to medical services to simply interact with a medical professional.
- While his calls do not have the intimacy of an office visit, there’s often a question of ‘this visit’ vs. ‘no visit’.
- Patients can become so totally absorbed and relaxed in the discussion such that the technology literally melts away. In one case a patient asked for a glass of water (says something about the realism provided by Skype’s High Quality Video).
- One paranoid schizophrenic patient actually preferred using Skype for his doctor calls.
Bottom line: With the ongoing debate over rising healthcare costs, can Skype video calling contribute to solutions that not only reduce both patient and practitioner costs but also shrink travel requirements, accelerate remedial procedures and, most importantly, cut the time spent reading six-month-old magazines in the doctor’s waiting room?
We’d like to think so