New telehealthcare service in the US

Next year, OptumHealth, will give patients in the U.S. the ability to connect with primary care physicians online through NowClinic, an online platform that uses video chat. For 45 dollars, patients with or without insurance can have a consultation with a primary physician, avoiding the stress and hassle of making appointments. OptumHealth will first offer their service in Texas and will expand the service on a state by state basis; according to OptumHealth “180 counties do not have enough physicians, 70 percent of patients cannot obtain a same-day visit with their primary care doctor, and 79 percent of emergency room visits are for routine problem” so the service may help to extend services to patients seeking care in underserviced areas. That said, the service itself is receiving extensive criticism from professional within the medical field. Professionals feel that by removing the physical component of a medical exam, doctors may miss some health-indicators and nonverbal clues. Read the full New York Times article on the service here.