UK's National Pandemic Flu Service the first true mass telehealth system?

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While in the USA the President’s health reform proposals have divided opinion even amongst his friends, and Medicare takes the first steps towards removing the barriers to telehealth, the UK’s NHS Direct has introduced as part of the government’s flu pandemic preparations, what must be the worlds’s first mass telehealth system.

It’s telehealth because it uses the internet and phone; it’s mass because it was so heavily used at when launched (2,600 hits per second initially, the equivalent of 9.3 million an hour according to this Healthcare Republic item).

Even more significantly, it effectively takes the person of the doctor out of the loop between the potential patient and his or her medication. (The ‘doctor’ is, of course, built into the diagnostic algorithm.) If you haven’t heard by now how it works, read this.