In an important online article at Telemedicine Magazine, First Stop Health's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mark Friedman, describes the valuable role of telemedicine in providing surge capacity for the treatment of victims of the flu epidemic.
Dr. Friedman writes that, for most adults under age 65, the flu can be diagnosed and treated by a doctor via a telemedicine consultation. With 24 X 7 availability, this fast access to a doctor via a telemedicine consultation contrasts with late-night visits by patients to over-crowded and unnecessarily expensive hospital emergency departments; or the travel and long wait-times associated with day-time visits to urgent care centers or the offices of physicians.
Dr. Friedman notes, as well, the particularly high value, offered by easy access to a doctor through services such as First Stop Health, for flu treament. To be effective, flu medications must be administered shortly after the onset of the illness (within two to five days). By providing convenient access to a doctor, for diagnosis and treatment, telemedicine services avoid the logistical hurdles that may prevent suffering patients from receiving this necessary early treatment.