Moving from “doc in a box” to “doc in a tube “?

Walgreens testing mobile app for virtual doctor visits

From the article:

Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, is testing a new mobile app that lets patients see a doctor and get a prescription without leaving home.

The Deerfield, Illinois, company said Monday that patients in California or Michigan can now contact a physician around the clock through Walgreen’s telemedicine app for smartphones or tablet computers.

The virtual visits cost $49, and doctors can diagnose and treat problems that aren’t emergencies and don’t require a physical exam, such as pink eye or bronchitis. The physicians, who must be licensed to practice in the patient’s state, also can write prescriptions.

The virtual doctor visit app was developed with MDLive and is available for both iOS and Android.

It does not require that patients fill prescriptions from those virtual visits at Walgreens pharmacies.

I was always told that it was ILLEGAL for a prescriber to write a prescription(s) if they have not done a in person physical exam ?  Does this process have a special dispensation from that law… or is the law just being ignored .. until someone files a complaint/lawsuit ?

4 Responses

  1. Considering the hundreds of thousands of medical errors made every year in American hospitals, I have to wonder how much worse being seen via telemedicine could be. First-time cases of respiratory conditions might be harder to diagnose, but what percentage of cases are first-timers compared to chronic?

  2. Anything to increase the bottom line for the chain, hah?. I wonder how many people will have to die before somebody stops this madness.
    It could be very tricky to differentiate bronchitis from pneumonia, you can trust me on that.

  3. I was always told if you haven’t seen your physician in the last 6 months, they can not write a script for you. At least that was what physician’s told me when I worked as a home care nurse. That must have changed. Either way, this virtual doctor visits is screaming lawsuits.

  4. Center for Telehealth at the University of New Mexico: Telehealth is clinical care, health-related education and training, and public health activities delivered at a distance, using telecommunications networks and information technologies such as video-conferencing. Particularly applicable to rural and other under-served communities, telehealth can not only increase access to care, there is mounting evidence that at the same time, it can improve health outcomes and reduce costs.

    A telemedicine license is a limited license that allows a physician located outside New Mexico to practice medicine on patients located in New Mexico.

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