UAB launches e-Medicine online service to diagnose, prescribe medicine

Getting a diagnosis when you're sick can be as easy as clicking a mouse.The University of Alabama at Birmingham launched its e-medicine website today at can diagnose patients, give recommendations for over the counter medicines and even write prescriptions.The service is designed for young, healthy people who develop common, non-urgent conditions like the flu, pink eye, a cold sore or a cold. "We think it provides convenience," said Dr. Stuart Cohen, UAB Medical Director of primary care. "We feel it's safe, given the fact that it's following evidence based guidelines and convenient and I think this is the next step in medicine- utilizing technology such as this will improve access."He, along with his team will now see patients both in person and online."In such that a provider could be providing care throughout the day, but as these come in, the provider is notified and then they immediately go to the website, review the patient information and act upon that accordingly," said Cohen. Here's how it works: Go online and answer a series of questions about your symptoms.Pay $25 and a doctor will respond within one hour during business hours. You'll get tips to feel better and in some cases a prescription."Typically, it would be antibiotics," explained Cohen. "There could be recommendations for other appropriate over the counter medications as well for certain illnesses, but the medications that require prescriptions would primarily be antibiotics."This service is designed for young, healthy people with common illnesses."It is for a limited number of conditions," said Cohen. "So this is certainly not the site, where if one wakes up and they're having chest pains, they're not going to go to this site to receive care."If the doctor cannot diagnose you online, you're not charged.But for some people, the website will be an easy way to kill a cold. The online service is available for people 18 and older in the Birmingham area.