The Doctor Can See You Now. Really, Right Now.

From the Healthy Consumer in the New York Times:

Often the worst part of a visit to the doctor isn’t the awkward hospital gown, needle sticks or embarrassing physical exams — it’s the drawn-out wait, camped out in the reception room in the company of sick patients and old magazines.

During a particularly long wait to see his dermatologist, Parker Oks, 18, thought there had to be a better way.

“They know approximately how long an appointment will take,” said Mr. Oks, a freshman at Boston University. “But the problem is that they don’t know how long it will actually take.”

That realization led Mr. Oks to create Appointment Status, a Web site devoted to improving appointment efficiency and providing patients with information to avoid long waits. Working with three teenagers from Staten Island Technical High School, where he had gone, Mr. Oks aims to make it easier for patients to schedule appointments — and to find out how far behind the doctor may be before settling into a waiting room chair.

It’s one of several innovations meant to help patients. While many digital developments — electronic medical records and mobile medical encyclopedias — have streamlined doctors’ work, new tools for patients are starting to hit cellphones and the Internet offering help in keeping track of medications, recording heart rate and glucose levels and managing personal and family medical history, among other tasks.

Read the complete article here.

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