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Israeli Family Doctors Concerned That Internet Medicine Is Causing a Dramatic Turn for the Worse With Doctor-Patient Relationshi

Posted Jan 23 2012 6:48pm

I think we hear the same thing here in the US as this is all pretty new technology and they make some of the same points made by our doctors, what can be done remotely and what should not be.  The HMO group has a few months running here with experience and soon patients will be able to see their entire medical records on file…sound familiar with what’s happening here in the US?  image

What is mentioned…”marketing”…we have that here too and sometimes things get spun today in all areas when marketing goes on steroids.  In the end though if you read through here, I think they have the same fears and ideas common all over, leave it up to the doctor as to whether or not a remote visit will suffice.  In the meantime though with patient access to all their records, I’m sure there’s many in the US that will be watching the evolve as it does promote the involved and educated patient with healthcare and why should patients be restricted from seeing their own medical records.  Last week we had a bizarre situation here which ends in a legal suit of investors being able to see patients records that they themselves are not able to see.  BD  

Turning to journalist Gideon Reicher in a new commercial video clip by the Clalit health maintenance organization, a cartoon character smiles and says, "I didn't rush and I didn't run around." The clip, starring Hamudi, one of the HMO's mascots, presents new digital services offered by Clalit to its insurees - making it possible to use the Internet to renew prescriptions, and to request referrals to specialists, a variety of permits, consultation with experts and personally adapted medical advice. The HMO plans to expand the service so that, in half a year's time, insurees will be able to see their entire personal medical file online, including hospitalization in Clalit hospitals.

The online service has been in operation for more than half a year, but only now, after the commercial, are doctors in the field complaining that it is causing a dramatic change for the worse in doctor-patient relations in the country's largest HMO, which insures 3.9 million people. The Israel Association of Family Physicians has been voicing serious concerns in recent weeks. The family doctors are afraid the service is downgrading their professional status.

“Notice how they're marketing us," a senior family doctor warned recently in correspondence among association members. "You no longer have to go to the doctor - the clerk in the branch will do what you ask via the Internet. Do you feel comfortable with such a method of advertising doctors/clerks? What has happened to the relationship between a doctor and his patient, when we're being marketed this way?"

Another doctor said, "It's true that the service makes it possible to ask patients to come [to the clinic], but isn't it a waste of our time? Isn't it better for us to invest it in treating patients? In consultations? Isn't it a shame to have all the unnecessary 'arguments' with patients that Hamudi promised them?"

Dr. Baruch Itzhak, head of a committee of community health doctors in Clalit, says the committee is working in coordination with the Association of Family Physicians regarding the contents of online medicine. "We support Internet medicine, when it's done in the right dosage and with the proper structure," he says. "It must be restricted to matters that don't require physical contact with the patient, without undermining privacy and the Patients' Rights Law, and there is agreement between us and the Israel Medical Association that the use of online medicine is up to the doctor's judgment."


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