E-med

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e-med(e-Med Private Medical Services) is an online medical site based in the UK, staffed and owned by doctors.[1] It is notable for being the first[2] web portal to offer consultation, diagnosis, referral and prescription services[3] to remote patients via email and Skype video conferencing, and for a controversial General Medical Council case.[4]

e-med[edit]

In the UK, e-med (e-med Private Medical Services Ltd) was the first[5] online health site to offer both diagnosis and prescriptions over the internet to patients without the time or proximity to visit a doctor. It was established in March 2000 [6] by Dr. Julian Eden, drawing on his remote medicine experience as a doctor serving the world traveller,[7][8] SCUBA and dive population(between 2002 and 2004, he was The Guardian newspaper's "Flying Doctor").[9]

At the time, e-med's instant popularity (with six hundred patients signed up in the first month) was criticised[10] by the medical establishment, including the BMA (British Medical Association). Dr Paul Cundy, a member of the BMA's IT committee, argued: " When it comes to online consultation or diagnosis, then I think the internet is simply not robust enough. There are no regulations to protect patients and they are completely and utterly at the mercy of internet doctors."[11]

In 2011, e-med had logged over one million consultations and was serving 500,000 patients worldwide annually.[12] e-med was also the first medical practice to use Skype,[13] the videoconferencing service, to conduct "face-to-face" consultations between doctors and patients in different locations.

The model established by e-med and other UK online consulting sites[14] is not only being adopted in other European countries but also by the UK's state medical service. Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of the NHS (National Health Service), mandated with implementing new plans to introduce online consultations via Skype has said IT will "completely change the way [doctors] deliver medicine".[15]

Controversy[edit]

In 2007, complaints were registered with the GMC (General Medical Council), the body overseeing British doctors, alleging "misprescription of dangerous drugs" by Dr. Eden.[16] Two of the complaints were made by national newspaper reporters listing false details with e-med[17][18][19] and another by Ian van Every, a company director of Dr. Thom.com, a medical website run by his brother, Thomas van Every.[20] As a result, Eden was deregistered in 2009. His case is currently under appeal.

References[edit]

  1. ^ e-Med Portal
  2. ^ GP treats patients 'over the internet'BBC, 23 July 2000
  3. ^ The doctor will e-mail you now The Independent, 3 May 2005
  4. ^ Online doctor put patients at risk, hearing told Guardian, 13 February 2007
  5. ^ BBC, over the internet
  6. ^ House call - No appointments, no waiting, speedy diagnosis and prescription - online doctors are flourishing. But are they safe?, The Guardian, 4 June 2000
  7. ^ Ask The Doctor The travel health website for travellers
  8. ^ The obsessive traveller The Independent, 7 January 2001
  9. ^ Flying doctor The Guardian, 10 May 2003
  10. ^ Patients flock to net doctors BBC, 25 May 2000
  11. ^ BBC, Patients flock to net doctors
  12. ^ What we do About e-med
  13. ^ Skype opens up to net doctor Skype release March 2008
  14. ^ British websites are pushing boundaries of online medicineUSA Today 8 July 2011, quote: "The British websites are definitely an exception, but they are the start of a trend we will soon see everywhere," Dr. Steinar Pedersen, a founder and special adviser at the Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine.
  15. ^ The doctor will see you now . . . over the internetThe Times quoting Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical Director, 29 August 2011
  16. ^ Internet drug GP suspended by GMC BBC, 20 February 2007
  17. ^ GMC Transcript 1 GMC Hearing Transcript Day 1, 12 February 2007
  18. ^ [1] GMC Hearing Transcript Day 2, 13 February 2007
  19. ^ GMC Transcript 3GMC Hearing Transcript Day 3, 14 February 2007
  20. ^ DrThom launch 'male health' service onlineEHI Health Insider 8 October 2007

External links[edit]

  • e-med The first online medical consulting portal in the UK
  • NHS Direct The UK government's medical advice and treatment portal
  • CQC Quality Care Commission Board, body that regulates online doctors in the UK