I feel the need to start this post with the following disclaimer: I don’t believe there is a “health care crises” in America. Are there millions of people without health care? Probably. Does this mean we’re in a crisis? Not at all. I haven’t seen a doctor in more than a decade and I’m still perfectly healthy. Some of that time I paid for health insurance, some of it I did not. MANY Americans are in the same situation as myself. they’re essentially healthy and only need to see a doctor on occasion. The true “crises” is this overdependence on health care providers. American’s spend way too much time (and money) visiting doctors for issues that will heal on their own. If we were to get the government out of health care people would take more responsibility for their health and necessary health care would be much cheaper. And Wired has just provided us with the perfect example-
Dr. Jay Parkinson launched his medical practice in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn in late September with no waiting room, no fluorescent-lit exam rooms, and best of all, no overhead. Parkinson’s practice is online. Want to reach him? Try instant messenger or e-mail.
Parkinson’s medical practice combines quaint house calls of yore with decidedly 21st-century technology. For a yearly fee of $500, Parkinson makes an initial visit to his patients in their apartments and offers two additional visits as needed. But he is available to them any time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays for unlimited consultation on IM or e-mail.
Dr. Parkinson describes the reasoning behind his unorthodox practice as follows: “A lot of artists in New York City don’t have insurance because they’re freelancers. They’re young and wired. Once you figure out an issue, you can follow up with e-mail, IM and video chat. The vast majority of these people don’t need repeated physical exams.” Which is exactly my point. Many people today use the power of the internet to self-diagnosis (fairly accurately). They only need see a doctor essentially to get a prescription issued, have tests done, or to perform specific procedures.
With Dr. Parkinson’s system you can move yourself pretty far along the process before paying him a penny. Only when it’s needed will you have to shell out the $500 to receive a home visit. Speaking of housecalls… although he won’t be accepting payment with eggs from the family chicken coop like in days of yore, the article does mention that he may be willing to accept payment in art.
Once again technology and the power of the market have come together to fill a need. The only problems he foresees are too much demand, and government interference. The market will solve the former (by more doctors launching such practices), but only a determined citizenry can help with the latter. Forget “socialized health care” we need a genuine free market.