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Within 24 hours of getting an antibiotic, Moore, a custom-home builder, bounced back."That saved my bacon for the rest of the trip," he says.As for the risk of overprescribing, the study findings are mixed.One 2013 study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed a higher rate of prescribing medications for sinusitis and urinary tract infections, compared with office visits.Patients are connected to a doctor — licensed in their state, and typically board certified — virtually immediately.Thus, they avoid the time lost from work or other commitments spent in a doctor's waiting room — if they can even land an in-person visit.Not only is the time spent between doctors and patients shorter, but there is no check-in at the desk and no need for expensive waiting rooms.Tania Elliott, a Doctor on Demand physician licensed to practice in 14 states, estimates that just 5 to 7 percent of her virtual patients ultimately require help from an in-person doctor.
"If someone is calling in with chest pain, instead of going right to the emergency department, that delay could have important implications for patient safety," says Lori Uscher-Pines, a researcher at the nonprofit research organization RAND.
Savings for doctors, hospitals and other providers are "potentially enormous," wrote David Asch, M.
D., of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Health Care Innovation in the September Annals of Internal Medicine.
With that encounter, Moore joined an increasingly common but still controversial alternative to the traditional office-based visit.
Telemedicine — which can include anything from emailing your own doctor to video psychiatry appointments at rural clinics — has been part of medical care for more than four decades.