Science: Health: Diagnosis: Software
""   (0)  [vote for, against]
use teleconferencing for medical diagnosis, via a large group of medical professionals

Imagine that you're feeling just a little sick. Sort of upset stomach, headache, mild fever. You don't want to schedual a doctor's appointment, because you'll be better before an appointment is available, and it's so inconvenient to drive into town when you aren't feeling so great. What if you could flip on you're computer, submit creditcard info, and in a matter of seconds be hooked up to a doctor (or maybe just an experienced nurse) to whom you can explain your symptoms, and get a diagnosis and prognosis. If the symptoms suggest a more detailed exam is required, they'll tell you to see your regular doctor, but if the problem is fairly clear, and not too serious, they can prescribe something then and there, or tell you what you can do for yourself to speed along recovery. Some symptoms could be shown, using a webcam, especially for dermatological concerns. Other cases might only require a chat type window at a lesser price. In the end, you have a quick convenient way to get a professional medial opinion without ever going further than you're home computer, for a low per minute charge.
-- hopeful, Aug 18 2003

Lower-tech version. http://www.nhsdirec.../SelfHelp/index.asp
(This *is* the UK's National Health Service, after all.) [angel, Oct 04 2004]

Medical experts
I can't find the link, but the people who did this also had a live service where they found experts anywhere in the world for your problem and organized conference calls. [kbecker, Oct 04 2004]

Patient: Doctor, Doctor, I broke my arm in two places!

Doctor: Stay out of those places!

-- DeathNinja, Aug 19 2003

Sorry [hopeful] but I don't think this’ll fly.
Liability issues would be huge.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Aug 19 2003

The problem is that without seeing the patient (web cam image aside - the doctor usually needs to do a bit more than just look at you) the doctor will *always* have to err or the side of caution, whether or not they are 95% sure what's wrong with you. I think this would end up with drugs being over prescribed, and I suspect the end result of most online consultations would see the patient being advised to go see the doctor anyway.

<aside>My brother is an NHS doctor. He has a small set of "bad things" he will warn people not to do constantly as he sees people through the day. Things like "You must stop smoking", "Don't drink so much", "Stop deep-frying your breakfast" etc. He always says the only other thing he wishes he could ban his patients from completely is looking up their condition on the internet. The internet has a bad side effect of making you feel like you know it all, after a mere 30 minutes googling. He suggests this is not sufficient research to replace the minimum 7 years training a doctor will have.</aside>
-- custardlove, Aug 19 2003

random, halfbakery