Hawaii tries out online health care

For people in Hawaii, going to see the doctor just got as easy as booting up their PC.

The state is the first to offer online physician visits statewide, under a program that kicks off Thursday. Residents can chat with a doctor over a standard Web browser (IE 7 or Firefox 2) or carry out their visit over the telephone. Those with a Webcam can also use that to share video with the doctor. The service will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (with a few monthly maintenance outages during low-volume times). Members of Hawaii’s largest insurer, HSMA (which operates the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield) pay $10 for the 10-minute consultation, while non-members pay $45.

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