Online consultations with real doctors could be a good middle ground, but just talking or texting with a patient often isn't enough for a doctor to make an accurate diagnosis. To give a telepresence doctor more presence, the new OnMed Station is equipped with HD cameras and various sensors, and can even dispense drugs as prescribed.
Medical telepresence has the potential to be revolutionary, but so far it's been fairly clunky. There are robots that roam around hospitals and let doctors check up on patients remotely – but it's mostly a hands-off approach, letting them see and chat to patients from afar and look over their medical charts.
The OnMed Station is designed to give physicians a far richer telepresence. Patients step inside what looks like a futuristic phone booth, and are put in touch with a doctor they can see and speak to.