A case for web doctors

By Heather McCracken

A survey has found about one in five people would be willing to have a consultation with their doctor over the internet, rather than in person.

Obviously, video consultation couldn't fully replace in-person consultations with a doctor.

While you can do a lot of things over the internet, it isn't currently possible to remotely listen to someone's lungs, for instance, or take their blood pressure.

But there may still be a lot of advantages to a remote consultation.

For rural patients who may have a long way to travel to reach their nearest doctor, and may therefore put off an appointment until the problem is urgent, a web-consultation may be a good option.

It would also reduce the risk of spreading bugs between patients and staff at the doctor's clinic.

And I'd certainly opt for it if it meant you could reduce the cost of a doctor's visit.

And perhaps it could helpwith finding a GP, and reducing the waiting time for an appointment - as there's no reason you couldn't have a consultation with a doctor in Wellington, or Sydney, or London.

It's not always easy getting in to see your local doctor in Wairarapa, or even finding a regular GP, as some are turning away new patients because their books are full.

Perhaps for provincial areas like Wairarapa, where it can be hard to recruit new GPs, one solution may be that your first port of call could be an online doctor based elsewhere.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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