High-Tech Health

Sore throat? Achy back? Upset stomach? Time to make an appointment — with your computer.

According to recent news, many of our health-related interactions soon may be moving over to the virtual world. Take, for example, the case of Michael Cassara, a casting director who felt like he might be getting sick but couldn’t afford to take time out of his hectic workweek to visit his doctor’s office, according to one CNN.com article. Instead, Cassara did the next-best thing: He made an appointment to see his doctor virtually, à la video chat. Once his physician appeared on-screen, it was a matter of minutes before his case was diagnosed and medication was prescribed. Then he went about his business as usual.

Now, it’s common sense that this strategy can’t be used for more serious or complicated medical conditions, and it certainly isn’t meant to replace actual visits to the doctor’s office. Nonetheless, it points to the convenience potential of today’s technological advancements.

First came those tiny, noninvasive cameras that capture images of any part of the human body and provide crucial feedback for doctors. And then there are those medical Web sites that put physicians at your fingertips, answering your medical questions online for a small fee.

Further, it seems as though this “I don’t have time to be ill” mentality has spurred the creation and proliferation of what are known as virtual clinics. In certain parts of the United States, doctors are setting up these clinics in which they consult…


Deanna Hartley

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