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As reported in MedCity News ... In the not-too-distant-future, Dr. Jim Woodburn says, patients can reach their doctors on the phone...

...If that doesn’t sound too impressive, consider this: The doctor can
literally see the patient, access medical histories, listen to
heartbeats and check the eyes, ears, nose and throat — all from the
other side of the country...

...“Telemedicine is going to be as common as the telephone,” said Woodburn, the former chief medical officer of
MinuteClinic who now oversees UnitedHealth
Group Inc.’s
(NYSE: UNH) ambitious effort to build the first
national telemedicine network...


Long touted by experts as a way to cut costs and expand patient access to
doctors, remote medicine is increasingly drawing the interest of
medical, software and telecommunications companies alike. The market for
health-related mobile services and devices will hit nearly $2 billion
by 2013, according to a report by law firm Pike & Fischer...

... Datamonitor, a provider of online database and analysis services, forecasts that
annual spending on telehealth hardware, software and related services
will nearly triple over the next three years, from the current $2.4
billion to $6.1 billion in 2012...

... WellPoint Inc. recently said it will offer its members access to doctors via
the Internet and text messaging. Last year, Verizon Communications said
it will launch an online physician video chat service called Telehealth

...Earlier this month, Delta Airlines said it will become the first company in the United .... The service, initially
available to 10,000 employees in Minnesota, allows workers to access
doctors through the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week....

...Given the falling price of technology and federal stimulus funding for
super-fast broadband networks, UnitedHealth decided in 2009 to pay for
telemedicine services...

...UnitedHealth is partnering with Cisco Technologies to develop Connected
, the first national telemedicine network. Using homemade
software and Cisco video conferencing equipment, the company, the
nation’s largest private insurer, hopes to use its size and scale to
sell doctor groups and employers its telemedicine technology and

...Doctors, especially in rural areas, can boost revenue by seeing more patients through Connected Care instead of driving miles to
hospitals and clinics, Woodburn said. Employers can boost productivity
by allowing patients quick access to physicians...

...Among the early takers: Park Nicollet Clinics in Minnesota and Centura Health Systems in

...Similar to a cable bill, UnitedHealth charges customers a flat monthly fee that can run anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000..

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