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Rex, I agree that this kind of service has the potential to improve medical care for many, in a variety of ways. It is however a double edged sword that can self destruct if used improperly. For inaccessible locations where the alternative is to not have a physician at all, this is obviously a much better alternative. Perhaps my example of the x-ray film was a poor, so I will abandon that argument. The thrust of my comments are aimed at preserving the unique and intimate nature of a live one-on-one interview. There are visual and perceptual cues that a computer feed could not possibly divulge. Anyone who has given an H&P knows what I am talking about.

As an 'added' tool, I agree it can be most beneficial, especially to those who would go without care. There is however a very real risk that this kind of technology will be used as an alternative to the live interview. I am not one to defend the AMA, as I find their editorial practices to be horrific. I do however agree that preservation of this intimate kind of exchange is paramount to delivering expert care. Replacing this with computer feeds is unnacceptable. If used with care and due diligence, it can certainly provide physicians with tentative information in a timely manner. I guess my ramblings are more about the potential for abuse.

The previous arguments about how some physicians offer perfunctory care doesn't hold water. If they are already lax with the level of care they are providing, arming them with such a device may only further exacerbate such a problem.

There are uses for this product that I would readily welcome. For example, chronically ill patients could be monitored on a daily basis by images sent to the physician. This would not serve as a substitute for regular check-ups, but rather as an additional means of observation. In this scenario, such technology holds much promise. Using it as a substitute for in person check ups is a perilous strategy that might save money but certainly not lives.
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