No More Doctor’s Office?

Posted: February 6, 2019

Caitlin Powers feels stuffed up and she thinks she might have the flu. She needs to go to the doctor. But she doesn’t leave her apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Instead, she sits down on the couch and starts a video call. Her video appointment starts on time. A doctor in Florida talks to Ms. Powers over video for 10 minutes. “As a student, I don't really have time to spend three hours waiting to see a doctor, and this was so easy,” says Ms. Powers.

Video-calling doctors is called telemedicine. Doctors have used telemedicine for years to check on patients. It has been especially helpful for patients who live in hard-to-reach locations. Now more and more employers encourage people to use telemedicine instead of going to the doctor’s office in person. Telemedicine can be helpful for employers because it means people spend less time away from the job. Walmart workers can now see a doctor for only $4. But it has to be a visit by video.

Some think telemedicine will become more and more popular. But not everyone likes the idea. Parents taking care of sick kids want them to have the best of care right away—and to many, that means seeing a doctor in person. And some people just prefer to see a doctor face-to face. Tom Hill is among that crowd. The 66-year-old from Mooresville, Indiana, says he’s never used telemedicine and has no plans to. He says, “I believe in a handshake and looking a guy in the eye.”

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. ― 3 John 1:2

Caitlin Powers sits in the living room of her Brooklyn apartment in New York and has a telemedicine video conference with physician Dr. Deborah Mulligan. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)