Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Telecommuting Job: Doctor

I have written in the past about jobs one may do from afar, and some of those have been medical jobs. But this little item from the New York Times really warms my heart: doctors will now be doing housecalls through videoconferencing. In Hawaii.

How many ways is this awesome?

First, this takes the big idea of telemedicine and takes it small. You don't need a lot of special stuff to make this happen: a couple of webcams and the internets, and you can have a quick chat with your doctor. It would be so amazingly useful for people with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and the elderly. So often you just need to have a quick looksee to figure out if someone is really sick, or just a little bit sick. This makes it happen.

Remote places like Hawaii (and New Mexico wherein your gentle correspondent resides) have huge problems with access to medical care. This doesn't take the place of having adequate medical facilities readily available to people, but it could help people be less sick when they do show up to their regional medical centers. A physician can make a better assessment from seeing and hearing a patient, even over the internet, than say doing nothing. Good.

It's in Hawaii. Okay, that's just because it's cold here today. But still.

I'd love to see this expanded to mid-level practitioners, too (physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives). From what I hear, those folks are the key to handling the burgeoning healthcare crisis. If you want to really scare yourself, try googling primary care medicine crisis.

Then go to the gym to try and stave off chronic illness for as long as you possibly can.

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