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Online Doctor Visits More Effective Than Physical Ones, Study Finds

Online Doctors Visits More Beneficial than Physical Ones?
It's been a long, long time since most doctors stopped making house calls (unless you count the iPod Doctor). People have gotten used to the idea of heading into the office to sit in a waiting room and thumb through a dull yet well-read magazine. However, Internet-based house calls are looking as though they may become far more common in the not-too-distant future, and a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is showing that they may be even more beneficial than trips into the doctor's office.

For the study -- conducted by Dr. Beverly B. Green at Group Health in Seattle -- 778 patients with high blood pressure were split into three separate groups. One continued their usual treatments, which included visits to a doctor's office. The second group received home monitoring kits and training via Web sites on how to regulate their blood pressure. The final group received home monitoring kits and training as well, but also were able to e-mail their test results to pharmacists, and the pharmacists were able to adjust prescriptions based on those e-mails. Surprisingly it's the last group that did best, with more than half bringing their blood pressure in check, while only a third of those patients assigned to the first two groups were able to do the same.

Some will surely see this as another step away from the friendly and familiar doctor of yore, but for quick follow-ups and other similar appointments, these sorts of house calls could not only save huge amounts of time for patients, but money as well. [Source: Reuters]

Tags: doctors, e-medicine, health, medicine