Daniel Esgardo Rangel Barón: Gig Economy Meets Medicine – The Limits of Virtual Care

This Bloomberg article shows how the gig economy meets medicine. Or how doctors are choosing to care for patients in their pajamas. This concept isn’t new necessarily, but it got me thinking about how we might be getting ahead of ourselves.

This quote caught my eye:

The current system doesn’t work. It’s inefficient,’’ said Amy Fan, a 30-year-old doctor who recently started her own pediatric telemedicine practice, called Kinder. Fan said that while doing her medical residency, she found the communication between doctor and patient constantly frustrating. Patients couldn’t easily reach out to ask simple questions, and doctors couldn’t easily follow up.

I thought about if I can do everything I do in person online,’’ Fan said. “And I came to the conclusion that I can.’’

Like diagnose a UTI in an 10-month-old. Really? I found this quote chilling.

There’s no question that remote care offers a tremendous solution to access in many cases. In other situations, however, it may not be such a good idea. And before you call me a Luddite, spend a few months reading the hundreds of posts on this site that support the use of technology to optimize patient care.

While the article suggests that this generation is comfortable with this kind of encounter, comfort for ourselves and our patients can’t always be our priority. What’s important is the right encounter for the right problem. And this quest for convenience care needs careful thought. As Bonobos has showed me, there’s a time for hands-on and there’s time for the quick web transaction.

Medicine is tough, uncomfortable work. Putting your hands on a screaming, squirming, febrile toddler is part of the hard work of identifying a fever source. There’s just no way around it.

Something to keep in mind as the gig economy meets medicine.

For more on click on the 33 charts Telemedicine Archives. Lots of stuff on virtual medicine. 

Slightly modified photo from Victoria Heath on Unsplash

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