Multiple news outlets have been covering the release of the new Doctors on Demand app for mobile. Doctors on Demand is a mobile app that lets you schedule a video consultation with a real-life medical professional to discuss minor medical issues and make recommendations. A 15-minute consultation costs $40, which – when considering the cost of an ER visit or even a typical copay – is not exactly an arm and a leg. But is the service worth it?
Mobile Consultation: More than Just Doctors
The jury’s still out on the efficacy of mobile-first medical treatment, with the app having just been rolled out, but it looks promising. The app, available for iOS and Android, is the latest in a line of mobile-friendly apps designed to connect you with real people for the kinds of answers that ol’ Richard Q. Google III himself cannot provide for all his wondrous algorithms. CEM’s intrepid fellow blogger Tree wrote a bit on Google Helpouts recently, and it looks like Doctors on Demand is going to operate on similar principles, albeit with the more professional cast associated with the medical profession. Let’s talk a moment about Helpouts, and then move on to how DoD seeks to apply the principles.
Google Helpouts: Yes, Real People on the Internet
Helpouts seeks to bring the lively touch of humanity back to search and how-to, which a lot of lonely denizens of the net can doubtlessly get behind. Professionals sign up to be available as experts in their fields, whether that be cooking, computer programming, music instruction or a host of other professions. Curious users can tap their brains via videoconference and get a person-to-person connection as well as the answers they seek. I, for one, can see the huge possibilities to make some fun and exciting human connections in a solo-web-browsing world. But maybe that’s just me.
Doctors on Demand Raises the Helpouts Game
Doctors on Demand offers an application of the Helpouts principle that could do a tremendous amount of good if it proves viable. (NB: DoD is not using the Google interface, but their own app – just to clarify.) The ability to get a professional medical diagnosis in 15 minutes would be unprecedented. I could see how, despite the fun of driving to the ER and sitting in a waiting room for a few hours surrounded by a menagerie of ER patients, people might be induced to prefer a quiet, one-on-one consultation at their fingertips.
What I haven’t been able to determine yet is whether doctors are authorized to make diagnoses or do things like prescribe treatments – if not, then the practical application is surely limited; if so, there are obviously a whole host of inherent dangers and probably malpractice suits just waiting to crop up. But let’s keep an eye on this app – it may change the way we look at medicine.
How can your business model incorporate the Helpouts principle?
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