I have seen the future of healthcare.
After several attempts, I found a primary care physician who’s accepting new patients. Since the pandemic, it’s not easy. And many doctors are booked-up for weeks.
I was due for a physical, most of which can be done virtually. So I settled for a video chat with Dr. Nick. Of course, the ‘digital exam’ required an office visit…and be hand delivered.
I think Dr. Nick owes me dinner.
Virtual appointments are just the beginning. There’s a serious shortage of healthcare workers that’s reshaping how we’ll get medical treatment. The pandemic chased many doctors into early retirement and prompted exhausted nurses to leave the profession. Meanwhile aging baby boomers are straining the medical system.
But help is on the way: Telemedicine will save the day.
Here’s my take. I grew up with a family doctor who knew me by name. I doubt Dr. Nick could pick me out of a police lineup. Sadly, we’re racing in that direction.
Virtual health care was born in response to being locked down. Limited office visits led to a virtual doctor-patient relationship. Now, it’s here to stay. The medical conglomerates that employ many American doctors are betting that artificial intelligence will guide your treatment plan. If all goes as planned, your relationship will be less personal, but highly efficient.
Known as telemedicine, data will guide doctors’ decisions. Computers will analyze your lab results, diagnose symptoms, recommend treatment and probably empty your bedpan.
From there, it seems like a short hop to automated RoboDocs, where a computer-generated image will offer medical advice – with no human touch.
But at least A.I. won’t cradle your jewels and make you turn your head and cough.