Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Driving Down Health Care Costs...With Self & Virtual Diagnosis

Every year I get at least one sinus infection...sometimes two. The steps are always the same. I call for an appointment, I tell the screener my symptoms, the doctor and I have our one-on-one, and he/she writes the prescription. With the eventual Socialized Medicine scenario, that we are seeing on America's horizon, we are going to have to be a little more trusting of our "chronic" patients. If after someone has been diagnosed with a sinus infection once (or twice) yearly, during the same allergy season for two years, he/she should be able to call least once a year...a prescription and the "system" should just take his/her word for it! Now, if an additional round of antibiotics is needed (which does happen) a doctor's visit will be necessary. Additionally, virtual doctor websites exist even now. I was feeling pretty smug...because I thought I came up with the idea...but apparently someone has beat me to it. One such site is which "showcases" Dr. Stephen Schueler, an emergency room physician...and virtual doctor. You simply type a condition or symptom in the search box and he will ask you questions and make possible suggestions as to your problem...and tell you if you indeed need to see a physician. It is pretty much what the health screener's job is currently. The advantage to this situation would be that you could...if the health care gurus would let you forward the "virtual findings"...not have to waste the screener's time with time consuming questions. Instead you could just wait for the call as to your appointment time and date...or...come and pick up your prescription! Of course all history information would be entered into a database and prescriptions would be tracked by the screener before your case determination because, unfortunately, there are those who would try to corrupt the system. Think how many people would be spared the waiting room duration and disease exposure...especially during cold and flu season! Well, they are going to have to relinquish some of the "doctor duties" somewhere and these are two of my suggestions. What are some of your cost saving suggestions for our health care system? Let's hear some chatter!

Note: Maybe one day health care screeners, forms, and waiting rooms will be a thing of the past...I guess they'll have to go through an evolutionary process.

May God bless America...and may America deserve it!
Zanne Booker 7-23-09