The online patient: is the Northfield medical community ready and willing to adapt?


Is Northfield ready for online medical consultations? Today’s Strib has a story about how BCBS MN plans to use American Well online medical consultation service. (More below.)  How about online reviews of doctors? A month ago, USA Today ran a story titled: Doctors seek gag orders to stop patients’ online reviews. How about Internet access in the hospital and clinics? (continued)

allina-mychart-ssho I think an online chat service with a doctor it’s a great idea though I’d also like to see the option to contact a doctor via email (asynchronously) instead of just live-chat… and better yet, my OWN doctor. I do have online access to some of my medical records via Allina’s MyChart but it’s pretty minimal at this point. I have to nag them to update it and I can’t initiate an online request. I have to phone them. (Since web cams can be used for the real-time chat, it’s another reason to have fiber-to-the-home!)

Are Northfielders rating their medical professionals?  I see only 6 Northfield providers listed at the Rate MDs website. Anyone have an account at Angie’s List? They started taking reviews on doctors and dentists a year ago, so there should be some Northfield-area providers there.

Hospitals all over the country are now providing internet access for patients and visitors (eg, Children’s of MN, Mayo Clinic, more listed here). The Northfield Hospital says nothing about access for patients on the patient page.  On their visitor page it says that “Internet access is available in the Northern Light Café. There is a desktop personal computer available there for the convenience of patients and visitors.” No wi-fi?

In addition to campus-wide wifi access, the Mayo Clinic is on Twitter, they have a FaceBook page, a WordPress group blog, and a YouTube Channel.


  1. john george said:

    I found this interesting quote in an MSNBC article about Canadian doctors being required to give medical permission for obese air travelers to occupy more than one seat. It is a link from an article about United’s new policy about obese travelers.

    Sharfstein explained that while
    Canada’s universal health insurance
    system provides free health care
    services to all residents, the reality
    is that patients often wait months to
    see their doctor. More than 5 million
    Canadians don’t even have a family
    doctor, he said.

    I think this gives us reason to consider what the results will be here in this country if universal health care is taken on by the government. This article aligns with the reports I get from my neice who lives in Saskatchewan. My opinion is that everyone out there pushing for universal government funded health care should find out all the facts of what these systems entail before we take the plunge.

    April 15, 2009
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    The Sunday Strib’s print-only article on Mayo is now available online: Mayo turns to social media to reach out to potential patients.

    A few years ago, Lee Aase was just another flack for the Mayo Clinic, issuing press releases on cue and calling news conferences for doctors to present carefully scripted messages.

    These days, Aase is a walking, talking, blogging, Twittering, Facebooking, YouTubing force who’s blasting Mayo into the social networking world faster than you can say “Mayo Brothers.”

    April 29, 2009
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    I heard an MPR ad this morning for Fairview Hospitals’ E-Visits service.

    Get your healthcare needs met without
    visiting the clinic

    Fairview offers E-visits for patients
    with MyChart accounts. When you have
    more than a simple question for your
    health care team, you can use your
    internet access to have an e-visit and
    save the trip to the clinic.

    April 30, 2009
  4. Peter Millin said:

    Canada’s universal health insurance
    system provides free health care

    John, this is part of the propaganda. I have lived in Canada for nearly five years.
    Even Canadian use the term “free healthcare”. Most people don’t understand that it is not FREE. We pay for it with taxes. It is laughable to believe that it will be cheaper quiet to the contrary it will become more expensive.

    Most Americans wouldn’t put up with health care in Canada today…be careful what you wish for.

    May 1, 2009
  5. john george said:

    Peter- Yep. If you check the block quote in my post #2, you’ll see that statement was a quote from the article. I think it is interesting that many Canadians, who can afford to do so, travel to the US to get certain treatments. As disfunctional as our present system may be, I believe it is still better that most other medical systems in the world.

    May 1, 2009
  6. Peter Millin said:

    I didn’t think that was your position. After reading my response I realized that. Despite 21 years in this country sometimes I do phrase thoughts the wrong way.

    When I lived in St. Lazare, which is 40 km west of Montreal, my neighbor was diagnosed with breast cancer. She needed immediate radiation treatment.
    Her doctor told her that the earliest available appointment was three month out!!!!

    She ended up going to Buffalo, NY for treatment. The Canada health care department paid her back..but if we decide to go the same route, where are we going to go??
    Her case is not an exception to the rule.

    Ignorance is our most expensive commodity.

    May 2, 2009
  7. Andy Alt said:

    There’s a subdomain off KSTP’s (ABC, TV channel 5 broadcasting from the Mpls/St. Paul area) site for reviewing businesses, including doctors. One doesn’t need an account, but since I’ve not used it yet, I don’t know if reviews are moderated before approved and posted.

    There are 58 doctors listed, and that includes many fields: physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, dentists, surgeons, and so forth.

    There’s one Karate school showing up, but otherwise, searching for Northfield Doctors on this site brings up the expected results.

    When you click on write a review, it’s going through a different site though:

    The direct link for the listings of Northfield Doctors is

    At the top is a search box that one can use to narrow his search and/or change city. It appears to be a yellow pages directory off the site, and so one could review any business in Northfield (provided it shows up in the listing).

    May 2, 2009

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