“Regulators crack down on telemedicine, denying patients options”

From the Chronicle:

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of common conditions that doctors or nurses can diagnose using today’s telecommunications.

Despite the promise of this technology, the Texas Medical Board adopted a new rule that would require a doctor to meet a patient face-to-face before writing a prescription, or alternatively, the doctor can have a medical professional in the room with the patient to conduct an exam. The rule, adopted last year, was supposed to go into effect last June, but Dallas-based Teladoc sued in federal court, and the case is pending.

 The rule would have destroyed Teladoc’s business model, which is to have doctors available to consult patients 24 hours a day via phone or some other device. On weekends, a doctor can sit at home watching a football game, answer the phone, solve a patient’s simple problem and keep that patient out of the emergency room, where the same outcome would have cost 20 times more.

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