Although health care is one of the largest industries in the United States, 73% of US residents who are ill have difficulty obtaining nonemergency care on nights, weekends, and holidays.1 The shortage of accessible primary care drives overuse of emergency departments for nonurgent conditions.
Commercial e-visit websites—companies without bricks-and-mortar clinics that use the Internet to connect patients to clinicians whom they never meet in person—may address the need for accessible, convenient care. These websites vary in cost and structure (Table and eTable 1 in the Supplement), but all provide a novel alternative to traditional care for low-acuity conditions such as bronchitis and urinary tract infections (UTIs). They offer convenience not only to patients but to clinicians. Most offer flexible hours, free malpractice insurance, and the opportunity to gain supplemental income for telephone and e-mail services that are often unreimbursed at traditional practices.
DeJong C, Santa J, Dudley RA. Websites That Offer Care Over the InternetIs There an Access Quality Tradeoff?. JAMA. 2014;311(13):1287-1288. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.1026