MediXperts offers patient private medical on-line consulting

Boston, 04 November 97 Patients in search of medical consult for treatment of their disease no longer need to book an appointment with a specialist and cope with long delays, travel costs and hours of spending in the doctor's waiting room. For the first time, they can get personal, confidential consultations with leading physicians via the Internet. MediXperts, a new on-line commercial medical information and advisory service links more than twenty five of the world's top physicians with an audience of more than fifteen million medical users.

People suffering from chronic medical conditions from allergies to various types of cancer now are able to consult a specialist of their own choice from the privacy and comfort of their home provided they have Internet access. MediXperts currently covers about twenty five common medium- and long-term diseases and more are added each month. A three-step procedure offers the patient a detailed and personalised report on his present condition and suggests the best treatment to follow. Each detailed electronic report which amounts to $195, is designed to be shared with the consumer's primary physician, who can jointly examine the specialist's report.

In order to provide the specialists with all the relevant medical information, the patients come to the site and select from an extensive list of medical conditions, each presenting a range of doctors to choose from. The consumer can look into an overview of the physician's credentials and even see his photograph. New doctors are joining the service monthly. The following step is to create a medical scenario by filling in a questionnaire with specific data. This might include family medical history, symptoms or information about past examinations or laboratory tests.

The scenario is sent to the MediXpert using the Netscape Secure Sockets layer technology. Nowhere in the process the confidentiality will be violated thanks to the use of password protection. A fully automated system holds the entire content of the query in a secure, encrypted environment, including payment via credit card. The patient's name and adress are stored separately from the scenario and a reference number is assigned to the person concerned. The consumer is the only one to know the password and get access to the full report.

Two to five days later, the specialist sends the completed and encrypted report to the secure server. An e-mail notice alerts the patient that the report is available, including a URL to a dedicated server. Approximately one-third of the report deals with a recommended plan of action for the consumer and his primary physician to discuss. The participating specialists are involved with advanced research and care. They regard it as a great opportunity to help people by means of the Internet, consultations for which they normally would lack the time. Indirectly, they are able to deliberate with doctors whom otherwise they would never have the chance to meet.

Virtual Medical World readers who are interested in the new consultation service are invited to visit the MediXperts site.

Leslie Versweyveld