Jere Retzer retzerj at
Mon Nov 18 22:23:51 UTC 2002

Vadim Antonov wrote:

>I definitely would NOT want to see my doctor over a video link when I need
>him.  The technology is simply not up to providing realistic telepresense,
>and a lot of diagnostically relevant information is carried by things like
>smell and touch, and little details.  So telemedicine is a poor substitute
>for having a doctor on site;  and should be used only when it is
>absolutely the only option (i.e. emergency on an airplane, etc).

If you are really ill, this is true but there are always gray areas that go into the decision whether the 'illness' is worth a visit. Physicians often order things for patients they know based upon a phone call or even e-mail if they feel reasonably comfortable. I think that there are lots of situations that a physician would recommend "just keep Johnny home for a couple days, give him plenty of fluids and [fill in the blank] ― call me in two days if he isn't feeling better." Having live video of Johnny is a pretty good supplement to voice, or for that matter the receptionist could record the video call for the physician and he could play it back when he has a few minutes. It's potentially even more important with elderly shut-ins, because bringing them in can be difficult and expensive and their immune systems are typically weaker so you should try to minimize their exposure to people with contagious diseases.

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