PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – The Internet has made it much easier to stay connected with friends and family, but it has now given patients instant access to their doctors.
The Paragould Doctors Clinic is one of the latest to offer virtual medicine, where patients can see the doctor from the comfort of their own home.
Dr. Lance Monroe officially debuted the service Monday after spending months training and promoting the program to patients.
"My guess is that, in probably three to five years, it will be probably anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of my day will probably be virtual," Monroe said.
Monroe treated his first virtual patient Monday afternoon,who was a woman suffering from an incurable disease requiring periodic evaluations. He says the virtual clinic is geared to someone in her condition, where the checkup is usually discussion-based. Monroe wanted to save her the trip to his office, so he instead interacted with her through webcam.
"People with chronic problems that have to have fairly frequent checks, we can now maybe have some virtual checks in between and lengthen out the amount of time," Monroe said, "so, instead of them coming in every month, they can come in every three to six months."
He explained that the online care is not for people in emergencies, but the virtual clinic can make it more convenient for things like routine visits, follow-up appointments or prescription refills.
"We can't do broken bones and heart attacks," he said, "but, for a lot of things, we can talk to the person and find out what you need to know, be able to give them the correct advice or medicine."
Monroe chose a program that used simple software so that patients can simply log in, connect with him through video chat and review any records easily. He can even write a doctor's note, post it on the site and have the patient print it off for work or school.
"It's not real difficult," he said. "The software is pretty simple. If you can do Facebook and email and go on eBay, you can do this."
To sign up for the service or learn more abou the virtual clinic, contact Dr. Monroe or Laura Morgan at 870-239-8503.