Monday, April 2, 2018

Marathon - We experience the future of health care

My chest cold was not improving so we started the arduous task of trying to find a care center in an area that had been devastated by hurricane Irma. The local Fisherman's Hospital had been wiped out and replaced by a temporary structure with 5 or 10 beds. I didn't have an emergency condition (there were no hospitals nearby anyway) but I did need to see a doctor that could prescribe medicine I couldn't just buy over the counter.

We tried local doctors but you needed an appointment at some time in the future. The website for the Fisherman's Hospital that was damaged by Irma advertised "Care on Demand" with a link to an app that would run on your iPad or Android. My condition was not an emergency, so it seemed right for us. They advertise Board-Certified physicians on duty 24/7.

I downloaded the app, got an account up and running (history, address, credit card, etc.) and requested to see a doctor about my condition. After less than a one minute wait, the iPad came to life with a video telephone connection. I could see the doctor, the doctor could see me and she asked me some typical question. Since she couldn't touch me, she asked me to apply pressure to various parts of my face to see if I felt pain, just what a doctor would do in an office but I applied the pressure myself and reported on what I felt. After more questions (did I have a temperature, etc.) she did a visual examination (say ah into the camera, speak (to see if my voice was hoarse)) and recommended a course of action with three prescriptions I could pick up at the local Walgreens drugstore.

I received a written result of her examination with the prescriptions listed to pick up at Walgreens. Curious, I emailed the summary to my physician in New York using their patient portal and received an answer back in less than 10 minutes that the course of action looked appropriate and the prescriptions were in line. My physician in New York doesn't yet have a "Care on Demand" channel but they do have a patient portal where you can ask questions.

So I was examined, a course of action given, and a list of prescriptions to have filled at a local pharmacy. All this was with Ann and me on a mooring ball in the middle of the Marathon mooring field. At a cost of $59 for the doctor visit over the iPad. I am now on the mend and monitored by the Care on Demand physician as well as my doctor in New York.

Of course, this is all well and good for non-emergency conditions. It's no good for broken bones but it's a great resource for us cruisers in remote locations.

Marathon has great sunsets
To celebrate, we watched another sunset off the back of our boat. We will spend one more day here
and then leave for Rodriguez Key on Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

Wow Bob, I'm sorry you're not feeling well but given the circumstances the whole heath care event seems to have worked out very well. You're certainly correct to say that something like this can be a big help to us cruisers.

Get well soon, Ken and Peigi.

Bob423 said...

Ken and Peigi, I had my first peaceful night for awhile! It’s another good reason to have a tablet on board although it would work with an iPhone or Android equivalent too. It saved hours and hours of hunting down a doctor, getting transportation, sitting in an office (they are never on time), etc. I can’t imagine the prescriptions would have been any different.

Fred Brillo said...


Baptist Health is probably the Premier Hospital and Health Services company in South Florida. Ive been to one of their urgent care facilities here in Ft. Lauderdale a few times. Once was for kidney stone. They did an ultra sound right in their office and a Radiologist reviewed the process remotely with the sonographer in real time... asking her to change views of the kidney several times and to take measurements of the stone.... all in real time. They have the technology!

Bob423 said...

Fred, that sounds really impressive! It’s got to be the way medicine goes in the future, it’s all about productivity. I don’t spend any time in a car, waiting in a doctor's office (catching germs from others..l) or waiting for an appointment. I noticed there was no option for Medicare coverage up front for the iPad call. I suppose I could submit the bill but it was only $59.

If you’re around Ft Lauderdale over the weekend, you have a standing invitation to drop by around 5:00 for wine on Fleetwing. We’d pick you up at Las Olas.

Fred Brillo said...

Ill probably be out on my old, beat up, Whaler, cruising the waterways Saturday.... I try to get one mental health cruise every weekend just to keep my brain in order and keep the cobwebs at bay. If Im nearby, I may swing past your boat just for a quick hello...