‘Virtual doctor’ makes day care calls

Color me skeptical:  CNN.com – ‘Virtual doctor’ makes day care calls – May 5, 2005.

Little Jaeda was examined soon afterward by a University of Rochester pediatrician and given antibiotics. Using telemedicine tools wielded by a day care staffer, the diagnosis was done through the Internet.

This would make for interesting questions, and I think telemedicine is great for some things, but diagnosing ear infections and dispensing antibiotics isn’t it, at least not in any kind of suburbanized, or better, area.  This is no better, and probably as bad, as just picking up some Amoxicillin at the grocery store on the way to daycare.

Medicine is a one-on-one thing, up close and very personal.  Accept no substitutes.


  1. Gianine says:

    I agree that there is no substitute for in person contact. But having seen a demonstration of this set-up two weeks ago I have to disagree with you about it being the same as just going and picking up some amoxicillin. There is actually a camera that is inserted inside the ear canal and it’s a much better view than you would see with an otoscope even. Also, there is some preliminary research that the UofR is doing that shows it’s actually better at diagnosing ear infections and effusions than looking through an otoscope “in person”.
    A lot of the population that they are serving can’t AFFORD to take time out from work, they can lose their jobs. Just because they aren’t in rural areas doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for this service.

  2. Telemedicine is still in it’s infancy in the one area where you think it would be most easily applied, my field, pathology. One of the issues is that if someone is going to send you a pathology image to diagnose, then the whole slide has to be scanned in (there are some really jazzy set ups that can do that). So why go to that expense – you may as well just send the slide to a consultant. Still, I think telemedicine in pathology will happen one day.

  3. Goat Whacker says:

    In reference to the first comment, the otoscope is usually not the limiting factor in getting a good ear exam. It’s the kid jumping around, Mom being unable or unwilling to hold him, wax in the way, etc. None of these are solved with telemedicine and conceivably could be even larger problems since there is no physician in attendance.

  4. Judy Satin says:

    Really, with so many diseases spread by daycare, it would probably make economic sense to have a real live doctor on staff at some of these daycares vs. using telemedicine…


  1. medmusings says:

    links for 2005-05-07

    GruntDoc: I committed one of the ER Doc Sins Today an ER doc comes clean about forgetting to come to work today (tags: ER doc) Thinking Nurse nursing blog carnival (tags: medblogger nurse) Moderate Red Wine Drinking Reduces Risk for Cataract: n=1379 i…