By Peter Vicars - VGo CEO on Aug 03, 2012
An article published last month from The New York Sunday Times reports the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. And that number will more than double by 2025, as the expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of baby boomers drive up demand for care. Even without the health care law, the shortfall of doctors in 2025 would still exceed 100,000.

"We have a shortage of every kind of doctor, except for plastic surgeons and dermatologists. We'll have a 5,000-physician shortage in 10 years, no matter what anybody does," states Dr. G. Richard Olds, founding dean at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside.

So how many times have you called the doctor with a medical complaint, waited days for an appointment, spent time driving to the office, sat captive in the waiting room for hours, and then visited with the physician for less than 15 minutes? Sounds like a nightmare now, but will we be at the point in 2022 where it is going to be really difficult to even make an appointment or call a doctor?

This is where the value of telemedicine – consulting with doctors through your computer, smart phone, tablet, or better yet, a VGo – becomes vital to our collective health and wellbeing. No need to go through all that inconvenience for routine visits or consultations. With video chats, computers and mobile devices such as VGo, patients can see their doctors virtually without leaving home. Allowing a doctor, a nurse or a caregiver to be more productive and available to their patients through technology is the way to help with the projected clinician shortage.

Industry experts, such as Dr. Eugene Spiritus say that communication is the key to good health care.  Dr. Spiritus has often commented that care is about seeing the patient, talking with the patient, having a face to face. There is something about the presence that a VGo brings to the equation that not only makes healthcare more accessible and affordable, but more personal. Having a doctor or nurse making a visit from a remote location will help offset the shortage of clinical expertise.

Telehealth solutions, promise to have a profound impact on patient care, its quality and safety, and can also help drive costs out of the healthcare system. For instance, enabling the chronically ill and elderly to receive care at home reduces the number of hospital admissions and re-admissions, which are riddled with expense and risk of exposure to other illnesses.  And VGo does all that by facilitating communication for the clinician and the patient.

By Dr. Eugene Spiritus - Chief Medical Officer on May 17, 2013

Having just returned from the American Telemedicine Association conference meetings in Austin, I began to reflect on the dramatic changes that have occurred in the delivery of healthcare over the past fifty years.   The opportunity to manage patients anytime, anywhere, utilizing wireless monitoring devices and remote real-time consultations has the potential to improve the quality of care, while dramatically reducing the cost of care.  

As a clinician, I have seen a change in how physicians make a diagnosis. Years ago the history and physical examination were the essential tools of the doctor.  Since the advent of routine x-rays and now MRI’s, CT scans, and more recently ultrasound, - all of which are now captured, stored, and shared electronically - the physical examination is less relied upon.  In fact, many neurologists will not see a patient prior to obtaining specialized studies.  Cardiologists such as Dr. Eric Topol don’t even use a stethoscope preferring a hand held ultrasound.  Many critical care physicians now utilize ultrasound to detect lung water, eschewing the stethoscope.   

Many physicians will tell you that the most important part of the examination is, in fact, the history.  While the physical examination may be important in selected patients, the availability of data collected and displayed electronically (including blood tests, vital signs, and radiology procedures) enables the clinician visiting a patient remotely   to be very effective.  They already have the data and the history, so what’s left is the real time consultation.  That simple conversation and observation, directly with the patient, combined with the data – enables effective decision making.

While there were a multitude of cart systems used to communicate with patients at ATA, the VGo - with its low cost, ease of use, lack of dependencies, and patient friendly form factor - was certainly a standout.

By Peter Vicars - VGo CEO on May 02, 2013

Sixth grader, Cristian, attends class at Splendora Junior High School in Texas using VGo.  This gives “him” freedom to attend class, walk the halls, and even go to the cafeteria with all the other kids. To his classmates, and to Cristian, it’s as if he is really there, despite the fact that he is undergoing another round of chemotherapy.

We all remember the fire drills schools conduct to be sure everyone in the building knows how to get outside quickly and quietly.  Recently, the fire alarm at Splendora went off - and one of the students picked up the VGo and carried it out saying it “wasn’t a robot, it was their friend Cristian!”

It raises the observation that we have seen at many of our school installations; the students really integrate the VGo into their culture more deeply than it would appear at first glance -

It is where a student (virtually) waits at the bottom of the stairs on his or her way to their next class, and a friend picks him/her up and carries them up the fight of stairs.

Or it is the young girl student in South Carolina whose robot reflect’s her princess personality!

No wonder you hear the comment “VGo has changed my child’s life” from a parent… and it’s not just the student with special health needs that is impacted – it’s the whole community.  Time and again we hear teachers and school administrators tell us how the students not only embrace VGo, but learn empathy and compassion through having VGo in the classroom.

It is the power of presence that allows, that student to participate in class, that doctor to be in the room with their patient, or that family member to visit a loved one in a nursing home. 

We all have enough “fire drills” in life to keep us busy, but when a friend wants to make sure that everyone gets out safely that is something different!!!