Need a doctor, but you don't feel like getting out? That visit is as close as click and send. At least it is at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare where patients are going to their computers to make appointments, get prescription refills, learn about test results and even ask for medical advice.
"We are looking at the future of medicine and decided we have the unique opportunity to transform how we deliver care. We used to spend over a million dollars a year on dictation. There's no more dictation, records are electronic," says Jeff Hillebrand, of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare.
Jeff says initially, this is costing the healthcare system about $42 million, but he expects that by the end of next year, 10,000 patients will have signed up to secure Internet access at a few hospitals offering electronic healthcare. Already, there are 90 doctors in the system.
One possible problem, doctors are not paid to participate in this e-mail service. The American Medical Association has already issued a suggestion that they should be.