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AZ Doctor Creates Business where Medical Care Meets Webcam

MeMD NewsIndustry News • 2 min read • May 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM • Written by: Kat Smith

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) – When you feel like garbage, the last thing you want to do is spend hours sitting in the emergency room.

If you have a web camera, you can meet with your doctor from the comfort of your own home.

“You don’t want to get out of bed and you’re like, ‘ugh,'” said Meghan Cox.

We’ve all been there – feeling sick as a dog, knowing we need medical attention but dreading the effort it’ll take to get to the doctor. According to a Scottsdale doctor/entrepreneur, you don’t have to. “MeMD is a virtual healthcare portal that allows patients to connect to providers through their Web cam,” said MeMD creator, Dr. John Shufeldt.

“You know, I used to work in the emergency department at St. Joe’s,” Shufeldt said. He said he noticed too many patients coming in with requests that didn’t require the ER.

“Many people are seeking healthcare advice only, or prescription refill or something that’s very minor and I thought what better way to do it than over the Web,” he said.

Patients log onto MeMD’s HIPAA-approved secure connection and chat with a real-life doctor face to face over a Web camera. It costs less than $40 and takes about a half hour of their time.

“I think this is kind of the next generation, this care on demand,” Shufeldt said.

He cautioned it isn’t for every ailment but works for those illnesses patients can pretty much diagnose themselves. “Things like sore throats, bronchitis, mild cases of asthma, skin rashes, cuts, bumps, bruises, strains, things that don’t need an X-ray,” he said.

It also includes things like the flu bug Cox had a few months back. “You know you have the flu, and you’re achy and you have chills, the last thing you want to be doing is be out sitting in a waiting room,” Cox said. So Cox simply logged on.

“The doctor concurred that yes, it was likely the flu, and went ahead and signed me Tamaflu,” she said.

MeMD was created about a year ago. It’s already serving 30 states and has between 5,000 and 10,000 patients.

Copyright 2012 KPHO (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Kat Smith