Online doctor service launches

2nd.MD allows users from anywhere in the world to get consultation from medical specialists

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Online doctor service launches The 2nd.MD service is intended to give people better access to medical specialists.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  November 23, 2011

A new web-based remote doctor service has launched in the US, to offer users around the world access to highly qualified specialists across a wide range of specialities from spinal surgery to emergency medicine and dermatology.

Users who access the site can search for a doctor by specialty, or their disease name, symptoms, or by procedure type, and then have a phone or online consultation with a relevant specialist.

According to 2nd.MD, the service that offers direct access to doctors in 12 of the top 17 medical institutions in the US, including Harvard, Yale and Boston Children's Hospital.

Doctor profiles are available for users to browse, and users can book an appointment with the doctor and either speak to them over the phone or via an in-built Skype-type service.

Although most of the doctors on the website only speak English, it is possible for users to request a translator to sit in on the session, to make the service accessible to non-English speakers.

"We have a translation company that is in place for the clients. All they have to do is request translation service while booking the appointment and the translator will be available for their session. If the client has a doctor that they would like to sit in on the conversation, they are more than welcome to invite them. Our video chat holds up to four people at a time. We have set this up so if the client wants to include a translator and a family member or their personal doctor, they can do so," Melissa Sawa, 2nd.MD director of operations told ITP.net.

A copy of the doctor's notes will also be made available to the client after the session and if the client is using the video calling service and the connection is lost, the specialist will immediately call the client on the phone number provided.

"We have created this as a backup in case something happens with the connection. This will also help those that may not have a camera or whose connection is slow," said Sawa.

The company recommends that clients have a standard DSL or cable line with a minimum upload and download speed of 160kb. However, if the internet speed is slower than this, doctors can call the client on a land or mobile phone line.

Appointments run for a period of 20 minutes and prices range from $80 to $200 and above, depending on the doctor and their experience and specialty.

"The reason we decided to have the sessions be 20 minutes, is because research has shown when an individual sees a specialist, by the time they go through the preliminary paperwork and checkups, the average time is between 4-6 minutes. We wanted to give them four times the amount of time as well a chance to see if the doctor is a good fit. They can book as many sessions as they want. If after seeing a specific specialist, they feel they need more time, they can ask the specialist to open two consecutive slots so they can have an additional 40 minutes of time with them," said Sawa.

The specialists do not prescribe medicine or order tests, but can ask the individual to have tests done and request a follow-up session so that the specialist can view the test results or lab work.

If the client has had any tests done prior to the appointment they can upload any medical file, such as a CAT scan or x-ray, close up shots of the specific body region, or blood work as they are booking the session.

"We actually recommend they have this done prior to speaking to the specialist if possible so the specialist can help diagnose and answer their questions," said Sawa.

Clients can pay either by credit card or by PayPal for those people who do not have a credit card, or whose credit card may not be accepted in the US because of country restrictions.

2337 days ago
Clinton Phillips

Great comment. We have to make things easier for people. Direct and easy access is disappearing to doctors and 2nd.MD offers to bring that back. One day they may have top UAE doctors available?

2339 days ago
Dis Grunted

Great idea and great service.

Whereas WebMD provided general information about health related issues, this site give access to talk to doctors on a one-to-one basis. Great for getting a second opinion or to clarify doubts.

When websites such as this and the rest of the world is making so much progress online, why is the UAE so far behind?

Even a simple beautician's advertisement requires Min of Health approval, which is really nothing but red tape and bureaucracy.

They try to claim that it is to protect the end-users/patients against wrong or bad information, but face the facts, anyone looking for information will find both useful, correct and wrong information online with or without Min of Health approval !! It is then up to the individual to decide what information to use as valid and what not to. A matter of choice.

With the Min of Health in UAE trying to police what is online, it serves no purpose. It is nothing but another money making scheme.

It's time to embrace technology and give way to access to information that everybody deserves.

Hope the Min of Health in UAE will learn from the rest of the advanced world and stop interfering.

Dis Grunted

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