Would you use telemedicine to treat your child?
Despite writing about technology for more than 15 years, I consider myself somewhat of a technology sceptic. My basic rule of thumb is that before I go about changing up the way I’ve done things for most of my life, technology is really going to have to prove its value to me. So it’s a little surprising that my Luddite personality embraces the concept of telemedicine. Mostly because it’s super convenient, but also because it keeps kids away from all the other sick people.
Although the technology is far from perfect, one application experiencing widespread acceptance is in mental health. Research shows that 20% of kids have some form of mental illness, but in the US, there are only about 7,000 child psychiatrists currently practicing while there is a need for 30,000 such doctors.
I would have loved the opportunity to ‘take’ my kids to the doctor over a videoconference, as opposed to sitting in the sixth circle of hell, otherwise known as the pediatrician’s waiting room. I can’t count the number of times that my kids left the doctor’s office sicker than when they entered because of contact with other sick kids that could have been avoided if, instead of a personal visit, I had been able to schedule a teleconference with the doctor.
While I realize that many parents – especially those with very young children – aren’t going to want their in-person visits replaced with those held over a broadband connection, I can’t help but believe that applications like those in the field of psychiatry are a great place for the medical community to begin proving the benefit of telemedicine, even to self-admitted Luddites.
Would you use a video conference with a doctor to get medical advice for your family? Where would you draw the line and go to see someone in person?