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Doctors online for health care

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-935675.mp3

Buffalo, NY – A brand new, on-line technology could begin to revolutionize health care for Western New Yorkers. Blue Cross-Blue Shield unveiled the first of its kind Internet program called Online Care New York.

Chris Storer walked through a quick demonstration of this new product. He is marketing manager with American Well, the company that created Online Care New York. It allows users to access their secure medical information and talk to a local doctor on-line.

"So I can click that and see the information that the doctor has entered during the conversation so she put questions about a sinus infection," said Storer.

The service is compliant with the New York's strict HIPAA patient privacy rules. Ido Schoenberg is CEO of American Well.

"Our system, like any other system developed before, is patient on patient controlled. So nothing is shared unless the patient give explicte consent," said Schoenbert.

Blue Cross has set up private office areas at it's downtown Buffalo headquarters where employees can log in with minor health issues. Cynthia Eberl is director of Physician outreach at Blue Cross. The new service allows their employees to reach a doctor and access needed health care information.

"Sickness can progress because they don't have immediate access. So this can help with that," said Eberl.

But what about concerns of a potential misdiagnosis.

We reached out to Dr. Evelyn Hurvitz, who is with Tonawanda Pediatrics. Dr. Hervitz is using the new on-line system to offer quick access for her patients and others seeking guidance.

"Not necessarily an acute issue where a child has an earache where I would need to look at an ear or a soar throat that would need to get cultured to see if it was strep," said Hervitz.

A complete record of the on-line chat that can be shared with the patients primary care physician. The quick access to health care information and a doctor allows a patient to seek help with minor conditions like a cold or flu symptoms.