Feeling sick? The doctors only a Skype away

Stacey Spivey
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 6:29pm

Its possible virtual consultations could be the next step in modern medicine. More doctors are saying yes to online web-cam services. "I definitely think this is the way medicine is going to go," said Brenda Morris, medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler. Across the nation doctors are Skyping and Facetiming patients hundreds of miles away, and virtual consultations are even happening here in East Texas.

Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler has become a trailblazer for this type of practice. "I think this is one of the best programs we've done," said Morris. She uses a interactive video device to talk with doctors in Dallas. It's the same practice, but with more eyes and ears. Morris said, "Its not like Skyping or Facetime, its very sophisticated technology that's all encrypted."  She also believes tele-medicine, or tele-NICU, as they call it, is opening several doors in the medical field because they are "able to show the doctors up there the baby, and talk about it, we are also able to do a full physical exam, using the equipment we have."

Some East Texans think this type of technology, diminishes the value of the doctor-patient relationship. "Its kind of breaking that whole patient-doctor bond." "If it was your doctor that you saw on a normal basis then yeah, but other than that no, I think you would need to go to the doctor's office."

However, Morris assures, the benefits are invaluable. She said, "it allows you to have sub-specialty care in areas that are maybe remote or even primary care, you know there are some places in the state of Texas that don't have any primary care physicians."

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