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The Los Angeles Times has a piece by columnist David Lazarus in which he writes about how “video healthcare, or “telehealth,” is “taking a big step toward the mainstream as pharmacy giant CVS Health rolls out internet access to its MinuteClinic treatment facilities in California and a handful of other states.

“This is a big deal, representing a smart use of technology to make healthcare more accessible, especially for relatively minor medical issues — which can turn into major concerns if not addressed early.”

Lazarus gives “props to CVS for recognizing a need and coming up with a solution.

“The basic idea is that as an alternative to visiting a MinuteClinic in a CVS drugstore, where wait times can run hours, people would be able to access a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant on their mobile device via the CVS Pharmacy app.”

This is, he writes, “a potential game changer. Trips to the emergency room, especially by the uninsured, represent the absolute costliest way of delivering treatment — a cost shared by all policyholders. Any reduction in ER visits represents big savings.

“Just as important, affordable and accessible preventive care is the way little medical problems are kept from becoming big ones. Services like CVS’ thus can make the overall healthcare system more efficient.”
KC's View:
Healthcare is one of those industries that is ripe for disruption….

Lazarus clearly is enthusiastic about the CVS initiative, and save his cynicism for government, which he argues has done a lousy job of finding ways to build from private industry advances and turn them into public policy advances. “Our laissez faire lawmakers would rather reel from healthcare crisis to crisis,“ he writes. “That’s not just foolish. It’s sick.”

Hard to disagree with that.