Teledoc Medical Services: A lawsuit waiting to happen. “Earlier this year, TelaDoc Medical Services, a Dallas-based company, began providing over-the-phone medical care, including prescriptions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The company, which has treated 40,000 patients so far, is trying to appeal to two groups of people: those who don’t have the time to see a doctor and those who don’t have the money.

The controversial service fields calls from patients, then guarantees that one of its doctors will call the patient within three hours or the service is free. The doctor spends a few minutes collecting a patient’s medical history, then runs through symptoms as best as possible from afar. TelaDoc doctors can write prescriptions, except for controlled substances such as narcotics.”

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  • Anonymous

    There’s no truth to the rumor that Doc Elliott founded this company.
    There’s also no truth to the rumor that CJD is already advertising to call his 1-800 number for any patient that has been “maimed or killed” by this company. Go get ‘em CJD.

  • Elliott

    They’ve treated 40,000 patients so far which is the equivalent of 8000 doctor hours (assuming they operate at the high volume setting of 5 patients per hour – the article states 4 is the recommended load). This would represent several years of practice for most primary care physicians. I would assume that by the time they reach 500,000 patients that they would have at least one (and maybe more) malpractice suits. The company is insulated in some fashion because it is the prescribing doc that is going to be the primary target. At $35 a pop, I think that those are pretty good odds given the low risk nature of the treatment, the insulation provided by the physician’s malpractice insurance, and the low chance of success of any legal action.

    Questions for the docs out there:
    1. Does your malpractice insurance bar this kind of practice?
    2. If you are disciplined (the medical board determines you committed a violation) for an action is your malpractice insurance void?

    Whatever the merits of this service (and I think there are quite a few), there are at least 50 licensed MDs who are willing to participate. I may not agree with everything they are doing, but I would not be embarassed; in fact, I’d be excited to be associated with such a venture.

    From http://www.teladoc.com
    “Interested in Becoming a TelaDoc Physician?

    TelaDoc Physicians Association is searching for a select group of Primary Care physicians and internists to join our expanding practice. We are looking for physicians interested in providing patient care in a fee-for-service environment free of third party payers. We have openings in most states and offer flexible working hours and locations. By joining TelaDoc you will receive significant net income, subsidized medical malpractice insurance, and a dramatically enhanced quality of life. We are seeking Physicians who are licensed in their respective states, comfortable with computers, have a cell phone, and are interested in practicing primary care telemedicine. If you would like to learn more about practice opportunities with TelaDoc Physicians Association please send a CV to physicianresumes@TelaDoc.com.”

  • Anonymous

    Is there some kind of “terms and conditions” statement that any online user has to agree to before using this service? Do the terms require the user to accept arbitration for any claims in a location of the company’s choosing for any claims arising from use of the services or against any of the service’s contractors (which I assume is the relationship the service maintains with its doctors)?

  • drkathymd

    Nice idea to apply to a group practice…could charge for after hours work by phone on pts we know , and if needed have them come in for f/u the next day. Gotta find a way to answer calls on new problems after hours, but not for free. Just can’t do things for free any more, without having to push up to above 30 pts per day. Nice to know the price is $35