Work Comp Virtual Doctor Visits
The idea of Work Comp Virtual Doctor Visits have been met with many different reactions. My last article on virtual doctor visits was met with either complete skepticism or acceptance.
A very interesting article in WebMD on virtual physician visits caught my attention. It was not the subject matter that piqued my interest. The mega-corporations are now pushing for these visits- among them:
- Walgreen’s Pharmacies
- United Health Group
- Blue Cross Blue Shield – Anthem.
In fact the astounding claim by the two health insurers are:
“Walgreens said Wednesday that it will offer a smartphone application that links doctor and patients virtually in 25 states by the end of the year. That growth comes as UnitedHealth Group and the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem prepare to make their own non-emergency telemedicine services available to about 40 million more people by next year.”
Forty million is a large number of patients covered by virtual physician visits. The other astounding number is 25 state coverage.
The Workers Comp industry can no longer ignore or mistrust this area of medicine that is becoming cutting edge. Smartphone apps are going to be the crux of this medical revolution- even in the WC industry.
One area of skepticism that would naturally occur is the trust of the WC carrier on the results of a virtual doctor visit. If you will follow the link to the article, you will find a partial solution.
Some states have limited telemedicine:
Some regulators prevent a doctor from using a telemedicine visit to write prescriptions for controlled substances or abortion-inducing medicines. Some states also require a doctor to have an established relationship with a patient, which might include a physical or mental exam, before allowing them to do a telemedicine visit.
I think that physicians would have to screen their patients involving Work Comp virtual doctor visits with concerns such as:
- Possible malingerer
- Opioid concerns
- Severity of injury
Would you let your WC claimant have a virtual visit? We all have to remember that many of the files will have a rehabilitation nurse assigned that could easily facilitate Work Comp virtual doctor visits.
I do recommend checking out the second link in this article for the AP article to which I am referring for reference. There are even more astounding numbers in the article that pertain to the near future- totally amazing.
Work Comp virtual doctor visits may be so commonplace someday that the in-person visits will seem out of date.
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