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Will ObamaCare popularize telemedicine?

Let’s face it. The affordable care act of 2013, also known as ObamaCare, is set to revolutionize how health care is provided in the United States. While many of its critics say that it is really just a fancy scheme to get the younger Americans to bankroll the health insurance of older and sicker Americans, something else maybe under foot. There may be a trend due to the increased pressures on physicians to brought about by the law to push them into telemedicine. In other words, telemedicine might be a way for physicians to cost effectively provide care to distant patients. With the rise of mobile technology, it’s not inconceivable for doctors and patients to get in touch with each other regardless of where in the world the patient is. This is quite an interesting side effect of Obamacare because of the costs it imposes on physicians.

Physicians have really three options. Either they can just stop their practice and stop providing medical services. This is not realistic in most cases after all when a typical physician finishes medical school and residency, that person is staring at several hundred thousand dollars in student debt. The second alternative would be to just work within the current framework and make less money. The third way is to find a technologically feasible way to service a wide range of clients and give them high-touch care that they need. This third option allows physicians squeezed by Obamacare to not only retain their current income but possibly increase it by increasing their patient contact. One key startup company that is on the cusp of delivering such a telemedicine is Sunrise, Florida-based MDLife. Backed by former Apple CEO, John Sculley, MDLife helps patients get in touch with doctors in a matter of minutes. You can talk to them via video call, phone or email. This is a great way to get in touch with a certified doctor. The upside to this is that it can add another layer to health care and medicine that wouldn’t cost too much. It can add a subscription-based model to medicine, which can then be distributed among people that are in the same pool. In other words, for example, if I wanted to be able to get a hold of a doctor very quickly if I get into an emergency, I wouldn’t think twice if I were only to pay 10 dollars a month. Put a hundred thousand people who thinks similarly, and you have a business that generates one million dollars a month. The vast majority of those hundred thousand people will not use the service. So this generates a lot of profit for the business because the distributed network of doctors will only handle the small minority maybe 2-3% that would actually use the service regularly. This is a very compelling business model, and it definitely needs our close attention as it unfolds.

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