Survey finds nearly all Pennsylvanians find face-to-face doctor's visit important

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | May 25, 2015 3:34 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Technology has brought many innovations to the health care world. But a survey shows many Pennsylvanians aren't ready to embrace one tool on the cutting edge.

It's called telemedicine, but it's basically like Skyping with your doctor.

It can be used to diagnose ear infections and colds, examine a concerning mole, or address a heart issue.

But a recent survey commissioned by the physician advocacy group the Pennsylvania Medical Society shows 94 percent of respondents find a face to face visit is important.

Society President Doctor Karen Rizzo says doctors have questions too.

"We also are advocating for insurance companies recognizing this as an opportunity for patient care and providing health care services and obviously we want to see that paid the same way it's paid for or covered when you see patients in your office," says Rizzo.

Rizzo says she's hopeful more insurance companies will allow for reimbursements of telemedicine visits, especially in rural areas.

Doctor Karen Rizzo sayss as it becomes more widespread, regulators may need to get involved.

"So let's say I in Lancaster want to provide an opinion for the care of a patient in Ohio. I need to have an Ohio license to be able to provide that opinion because that's where the patient is."

The survey also found about 50 percent of respondents say they would use telemedicine if it could save them a trip to the doctor's office.

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