Revenue Cycle

Is healthcare better without doctors?

Patient Access Weekly Advisor, May 20, 2009

In all the talk about creating a medical home for every American, it's important to realize that increasingly, consumers are getting their healthcare outside of the traditional physician-based healthcare system. And that may very well be a good thing.

"Access to healthcare does not necessarily mean going to the doctor anymore," says health consultant Mary Kate Scott of Scott & Co. In her report for the California HealthCare Foundation released last week, Scott points to the rapid expansion of drugs and devices to test, monitor, and treat medical conditions without the physician office visit that defined access to healthcare a decade or two ago. In fact, a physician isn't required in the process at all.

"We're going to see an explosion in medical devices, and over-the counter drugs," as well as telemedicine applications for their use, Scott says.

"Consumers can purchase more than 700 over-the-counter medications whose ingredients and dosages were once available only by prescription," she writes in her report. "And in the last 15 years, numerous over-the-counter devices have become available" enabling oneself, or a non-physician to diagnose, monitor and treat a medical condition.

And that is the wave of the future, she predicts. "It's not like consumers love going to the doctor. They actually don't."

Read the full story by HealthLeaders Media’s Cheryl Clark.

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