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Memphis doctor develops video house call application to see patients

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MEMPHIS, Tenn-- At 11 a.m. at the Primehealth Medical Center in Bartlett, CEO and Primary Care Physician Dr. Sam Faleye wears his stethoscope and logs onto his computer.

"We've heard video doctor, we've heard computer doctor. It's all about delivering health care by video conferencing," Dr. Faleye said.

Instead of waiting rooms packed with people, he sees some of his patients by making a video house call without ever leaving his office.

Dr. Faleye is among a growing number of physicians offering online consultations.

With cameras and connectivity, patients can log on and ask for a doctor.

Faleye's idea started first with emails to-and-from patients after their visits to check on them.

"We thought why don't we cut out part of the waiting room and make it accessible from outside and put a video camera there," Dr. Faleye,

Even though video chats aren't new with Skype and Apple's Facetime app, Dr. Faleye helped develop and launched a technology enabling doctors to see patients through video conferences on a computer, Apple or Android device.

"Primary care Telemedicine, just being able to get healthcare to patients very easily from their table, at home, on the road, in the nursing home. That's what America needs," Dr. Faleye said.

He partnered with Los Angeles based "Snap MD" to develop a Telemedicine application marketed through Meamedicus, which Faleye heads.

Patients use a secure web portal to schedule appointments, fill out online forms and see a doctor through a web connection.

Faleye said 350 patients have signed up for non-emergency checkups at his center.

"If you have a cold that's been nagging you and simply can't wait two to three weeks like in Shelby County for an appointment, this is for you," Dr. Faleye said.

Across the country, the Telemedicine business is taking off.

Amwell is a video doctor service whose business jumped 1000% in two years.

Twenty-two percent of employers now offer video consults through health plans.

Seventy-one percent say they will offer it through 2017.

Teledoc is another service offered through some employee benefit plans covering eight million people.

As for the cost of a Telemedicine visit at this center, it'll run about $50, but all visits could  eventually be covered by insurance in Tennessee as they already are in Mississippi.

"The state of Tennessee has two bills in the House to mandate that insurance companies should pay this like medical problems. Mississippi already has this," Dr. Faleye said.

But not all physicians are logging on to become video physicians.

Some physicians such as Dr. William Gluckman say they want their patients in front of them.

"Certain complaints such as abdominal pain really do require me to feel for size of organs and location of tenderness and to do some very specific exams that you just can't do over video screens," Gluckman said.

Still, it's a new day for practicing medicine and adds new meaning to the phrase the doctor can see you now.

"You can definitely do a house call without leaving the office, no doubt about it, " Feleye said.