Friday, December 14, 2007

Is your doctor wired?

…The other day, HA experienced a minor miracle. She faxed her doctor a note and he had someone call with an answer—all within the same day.

…Julie Deardorff wrote about this subject in her blog on the Chicago Tribune’s website. Check out Julie’s Health Club at

…Julie says only half the nation’s docs have interactive websites--the kind where you can schedule or cancel, refill a prescription, print out those tired clipboard forms and fill them out ahead of time, etc.

…Some physicians, however, experienced the lightbulb over the head and realized this is a good way for patients to check test results (one of HA’s docs says wait two weeks before calling) and ask non-urgent questions.

…(How can I make this bleeding stop, by the way, would not be a non-urgent question.)

…Some doctors are even blogging and creating educational podcasts.

…The latter is good—their post-op instructions are usually horrible—photocopied off websites or out of textbooks.

…One daring type even texts with patients—and makes housecalls. He also engages in video chats. Assuming everyone ponies up for a camera soon, this could catch on.

…One expert Deardorff quotes says the doctor’s willingness to learn this and do it shows how confdent they are. Does your doctor stand up to respectful criticism?

…Some patients worry that this will cut face time with the doc. But how much do you usually get anyway? Think about it.

…The International Association of Dental and Medical Doctors offers docs websites at a discount. They can even get a dot-MD designation.

…HA googles docs before she sees them. She also checks with the medical examining board online for lawsuits and to see where the doctor went to school.

…One doc has an online store. She is a dermie, so you can imagine—high-end beauty products. But a doctor’s “store” boggles the imagination,and with HA, that is not easy, that boggling thing.

…Now if her doctors would just call with those darn test results.

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