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Doctor Appointments Via the Phone have Started

Update Date: Dec 11, 2013 04:02 PM EST
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A recent survey found that the majority of people believe that technology will drive health care within the near future. The Intel Corporation survey found that 72 percent of people would be okay with a video conference doctor appointment if their medical situation was not urgent. Now, this option is available in some parts of the country. Dr. Phil, who is a television personality, host of TV show, author, and psychologist, has announced that a new start-up company will offer doctor visits via video chats on media outlets, such as smart phones, tablets and computers.

"There are 1.2 billion ambulatory care visits every year, and the vast majority of people are walking in for something like colds or urinary tract infections that are very amenable to an initial consult over video," Adam Jackson, Doctor on Demand's co-founder and chief executive officer said according to the Bloomberg Businessweek. Dr. Phil, whose real name is Phillip McGraw is an adviser to the company.

According to the company, each video chat doctor appointment will cost patients $40. Out of that fee, doctors will be given $30 and the company will earn $10. During the video conference, doctors can perform daily duties, such as diagnosing illnesses and prescribing medications, with the exception of sedatives and narcotics. Doctor on Demand also does not recommend people to use this feature for potentially life-threatening emergencies.

Doctor on Demand is currently available for people in 15 states, which include California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas and Ohio. Before the doctors are allowed to consult patients, they are trained in how to use the service. The training process also covers topics such as general patient questionnaires and potential malpractice insurance. Doctor on Demand has over 1,000 doctors that are available from one to two days per week.

"It's the bane of my existence, but everyone has a smartphone, which means everyone has a video camera. Everyone is paparazzi," McGraw said. "There are also many good things to come from this change in technology and telemedicine is one of them. It's a giant step forward and a great opportunity to help people live healthier lives."

The company, which was started in San Francisco, had raised $3 million from investors, which include Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Venrock and Shasta Ventures.

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