Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Skypiatry by the Sense

Or, What's the Sense in Skypiatry?

Despite the fact that physicians have talked to patients on the telephone for years, even sometimes charging a fee for the contact, risk managers have criticized patient contact via Skype or similar technology citing the fact that, while the psychiatrist can see and hear the patient, she will not be able to smell the patient. It occurs to me that this position fails to account for several other senses, and since it appears that each sense should add value to the interaction I propose a fee schedule for, let's say, Psychiatric Medication Management, by the sense:
  • Hearing the patient: $50
  • Seeing the patient: $40
  • Smelling the patient: $30
  • Tasting the patient: $20
  • Feeling the patient (tactile -- not empathy): deduct $20 for boundary violation. Naughty psychiatrist!
  • Empathy (That could be the sixth sense.): $20
Incidentally, physicians have practiced successfully while blind or deaf. Do you know of anyone has has been denied admission to medical school or medical licensure because of congenital or other anosmia?

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