(…) « These telemedicine websites let people pose questions to a licensed doctor, paying $10 to $40. Some services offer free follow-ups and referrals as part of a more comprehensive treatment. We tested four services and asked questions on behalf of family and friends about health issues that didn’t require an urgent trip to the doctor. These included swimmer’s rash, an ingrown toenail and a pain above the eye. We didn’t wait more than a day to get responses, but the quality of service varied significantly.
People typically use the services to supplement traditional doctor visits, since many of the doctors used by the sites aren’t licensed to practice in every state. « There’s a difference between advice and treatment, » says Lyle Berkowitz, medical director of information technology and innovation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s primary care group in Chicago. » (…)
« The site works by engaging doctors to answer questions with an average of four weighing in on each answer, says Mr. Gutman. Doctors who weigh in are often located near the user’s location, which enables physicians to market themselves and build their practice’s clientele. People who want more detailed information can pay $9.99 for private consultation or schedule an in-person appointment. »
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