Are Virtual Doctor Visits the Future of Healthcare?

Maybe in another 10-15 years we'll press our finger to our tablet or smartphone to have our temperatures taken and to record other vitals, which will then be uploaded to a doctor who will email us his or her prognosis. It sounds terribly impersonal, but then again, what's so great about sitting in a waiting room for an hour, just to be called in to have to wait another 45 minutes before you're actually seen by a doctor?

Regardless of what the future holds, there appears to be strong interest in virtual doctor visits. Cisco on Monday announced at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference the results of the Cisco Customer Experience Report. It focused on the perceptions of consumers and healthcare decision makers (HDCMs) on the patient experience.

Robot Doctor
Doctor performs first robot-assisted surgery in the Air Force.

Cisco surveyed 1,547 consumers and HCDMs in 10 countries. Out of those surveyed, 74 percent of consumers said they're open to virtual doctor visits, and "most consumers" said they are comfortable with having all of their health records securely available on the cloud, except for those in Germany in Japan. Nearly 80 percent of consumers living in North America said they are comfortable submitting complete medical history and diagnostic information online.

This technological shift on the consumer side has already begun to a certain extent. Nearly one in four consumers surveyed said they receive health-related reminders on their mobile device, and of those who use healthcare apps, most of which are related to healthy eating and exercise, 25 percent said they are for chronic disease management.