Online doctor consultation a click away - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Online doctor consultation a click away

Michael Stollar Michael Stollar

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) -   A revolutionary system puts Hawaii at the forefront of modern medical care.  Starting next month, you can go on-line and get advice from a doctor.

It's something the Hawaii Medical Service Association, or HMSA, is launching, and it's the first of its kind in the country. It could revolutionize the health care industry.

Your doctor is now just a click away.  Starting January 15, HMSA physicians will be available 24/7 to answer medical questions.

"What this system will allow patients and consumers to do is access a physician over the Internet, and have a ten-minute consultation with that physician about whatever their ailment or issue might be," said Michael Stollar, HMSA's marketing and communications vice-president.

It doesn't replace regular doctor visits, but it could help emergency rooms become more efficient.

"What this may do vis-à-vis emergency services is cut down on the number of unnecessary uses of the emergency room for things like colds and coughs and those are very expensive for the entire system," said Stollar.

HMSA's Online Care system uses state of the art computer technology from Microsoft and American Well.  It give doctors the patient's entire medical history before the consultation starts.

"So the physician will see a medical summary of that patient's history, what prescriptions they may be on, and that's a lot more than they get today," said Stollar.

It'll be a valuable tool for patients, especially those on neighbor islands, who may not have easy access to care.

"So overcoming those constraints of geography is a tremendous value and a great new piece of infrastructure for the state," said Stollar.

And as Hawaii continues to face a shortage of doctors, preventive care versus reactive care may be the key to keeping us healthy.

"Being able to get ten minutes with a physician," said Stollar, "that would be ten minutes and ten dollars well spent."

This service gives advice for non-acute, non-emergent medical questions.  Primary care and family practice doctors as well as specialists will be available for online consultation.

Now if you have chest pain, broken bones, or other serious issues, you should call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

The cost is only $10 for HMSA members, and $45 for non-members.

Powered by Frankly