The Future of Telemedicine and Online Healthcare

If we tried to estimate whether our healthcare system is in better shape now than it was at the millenium, I am guessing we’d hear a resounding “No!” What has changed for the better? Perhaps only the technology and scientific knowledge we have accumulated since 2000.

But now the words “Healthcare Reform” are being bandied about like molten rocks, and are any of us really sure this isn’t just a bunch of bunk?

Regardless of how you would answer that question, it’s a good thing to know what’s on the horizon, regardless of how long it takes our donkey, or elephant, to get there.

Many of the positive things that the future holds for healthcare start with the word “electronic,” or the prefix “tele.” Yes, some doctors and patients are horrified by the internet and the latest technological advances that seek to change the old-school ways of doing things.

But, do you know what — even the naysayers in the medical ranks, and the Simple Susies in the waiting room, recognize one thing: electronic-“this” and tele-“that” are machines that ain’t gonna be stopped. The first things that may come to mind are Electronic Health Records (EHRs), which will be standard within several years.

The practice of telemedicine, which entails electronic communication in the delivery of healthcare — often between a doctor and patient in different locations — is gaining acceptance among health insurance carriers and, more slowly, the government.

Take, for instance, AccessRx. This website truly was a pioneer when, more than 10 years ago, it became one of the first online pharmacies to begin practicing telehealth over the internet. Now, more than 200,000 prescriptions have been provided to patients who have filled out an online health/medical questionnaire — primarily for lifestyle medications such as ED pills. (Thousands of prescription requests have been turned away as well.)

Now, several brave companies are stepping to the forefront of telemedicine by providing doctor consultations over the phone and through online video connections. The Hawaii Medical Service Association is contracting with Blue Cross to provide online medical consultations that bring together in-network patients with doctors. met last week with 15 doctors to get their views on where telemedicine is headed, and to assess their views on this emerging tool for the delivery of healthcare. Many doctors believe in online consultations, but many are taking a cautious approach until the legal framework is hashed out. Many state governments have only basic language to address telemedicine, and the federal government has considered only a small portion of conditions that could be covered by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).

Simply put, the technology is here, but there are no concrete guidelines for using it. Which is a shame.

With “Healthcare Reform” continuing to be a major political debate, more and more patients are realizing that telemedicine is an efficient and more affordable way to receive healthcare. Face-to-face visits will always be necessary under many circumstances. However, telemedicine provides patients who perhaps live in rural areas or do not have health insurance, with necessary care that can often save a trip to the clinic or hospital.

Many state senators and representatives are getting on board with telemedicine now that they see the cost savings, and high quality of care that can still be provided. As more and more of our population grows up with the internet and bounding technologies, and as more and more of our Baby Boomer physicians continue to turn in their stethoscopes, telemedicine will take its place among the most popular and beneficial healthcare delivery options available.

There just ain’t no stoppin’ it.

Losing weight, a New Year’s Resolution

As 2011 comes to an end, the New Year will inspire many people to make a resolution. Every year the top two resolutions involve losing weight or quitting smoking. They are both difficult changes to make, but when it comes to weight loss Xenical may be able to help people lose weight faster.

Studies show that Xenical, in addition to a healthy diet and a steady regimen of exercise, can help people lose more weight than dieting and exercise alone. The pill, which is available through AccessRx, can also help keep weight off.

Study results involving Xenical:

More than twice as much weight loss as those on diet alone
A significantly greater reduction in waist measurement compared to those on diet alone
A significantly greater reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to those on diet alone
A significantly greater reduction in triglyceride levels compared to those on diet alone

About Xenical

Xenical is the only available weight loss medication that works in the stomach to prevent your body from absorbing fat. Studies show it can cut the fat absorption rate by at least 30 percent.

Xenical first hit the market in 1998. To date, more than 16.7 million people have taken the medication, which is licensed for weight management in 149 countries.

One success story

“Losing weight is a lifestyle change,” Tameka Frans said. The 42 year old mother of three said her weight got out of control after her third child was born. “I started eating right and going to the gym and I took Xenical to give me a little boost of fat burning energy.”

Frans lost 52 pounds using Xenical and suggests the medication to anyone that is serious about dropping extra pounds. “I really feel like Xenical gave me an extra edge and I’m happy with the way I look now.”