An internet startup is exploring the exciting possibilities of virtual health consulting. With remote practices and the potential benefits of doctors using technology to reach patients, it seems as critical a time as ever to consider alternatives to traditional, in-office visits. The New York Times recently reported on a service called Sherpaa, which could serve as a model for future modes of treatment.
This approach puts an increased emphasis on the importance of proper messaging services. A facility with the sort of staff ready to utilize text messaging services or email to dispense medication to patients could make use of this model as it becomes more popular.
According to the article, Sherpaa is the brainchild of Dr. Jay Parkinson, who has become something of a minor celebrity thanks to his blog, which has led to the development of this idea. At first it was a way for Dr. Parkinson to contact patients directly through email and instant messages without having to worry about appointments, though he did schedule face-to-face visits if necessary. Now, his company (which allegedly works "exclusively with companies") is slowly growing and positioning itself to be a low-cost way to connect patients and professionals.
The article also implied that this method could include a means of remote prescription as well, provided that doctors in the system feel confident about the diagnosis without having seen the patient.
Sophisticated internet services are continuing to emerge in the healthcare field, as we see new methods to engage customers that make use of technology. Answering services and call centers of all kinds can make an effort to incorporate such new developments into their own practices, allowing for patients to reach a professionally trained operator while also maximizing that potential.