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Published April 25, 2012, 10:08 PM

New phone-a-doctor program starting up in the area

Fargo-Moorhead (WDAY TV) - There's a new way to get the medical attention you need and avoid the climbing cost of insurance.

There's a new way to get the medical attention you need and avoid the climbing cost of insurance. A phone-a-doctor program is kicking off in our region, giving patients easy access to prescriptions. Some pharmacists say this access could cause more problems than it's worth.

Any Lab Test Now Owner Dan Parker says the average emergency room wait is 4 hours. Ameri-Doc can help out in about 22 minutes.

Dan Parker – Any Lab Test Now Owner: “Over 70% of all visits can be done over the telephone."

Parker says patients call Ameri-Doc with their symptoms. Doctors will diagnose the illness, offer advice, sign off on prescriptions, and if it's an emergency, recommend patients get immediate attention.

Dan Parker: “It's there to help work with your regular physician. Not replace them."

And it's cheap. Thirty dollars a month covers an entire family's calls. Prescriptions are the only extra cost.

Dan Parker: “It's not a cure-all, but it's an option."

AmeriDocs can't prescribe DEA controlled substances like sleeping pills or pain medicine, but some pharmacists say it could lead to potential pill abuse and misdiagnosis."

David Olig - Pharmacist: “Not all sore-throats are strep. Neither are they throat cancer, they could be a virus, but the only way to find out is look, or do a throat swab."

Pharmacists say for complete medical care there has to be an in-person, working relationship between physicians, pharmacists, and patients.

David Olig: “Self-directed therapy, taking the physician out of the circle, doesn't make a lot of sense to me."

Olig says in the end, you get what you pay for: Full price, for a full experience or low cost for a quick fix. The licensed doctors are on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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