Cell phones aid primary care

If you want to create a patient-centered practice, see fewer patients and devote more time to each one. Emphasize preventive care and patient education, with an eye toward wellness. Consider house calls and online scheduling. And, by all means, give patients their doctors' cell phone numbers.

That's part of the message in a New York Times story on patient-centered practices. Only in this age of federal economic stimulus spending can such a model work, of course, since primary care physicians will demand higher pay for their extra services. The idea, though, is to demonstrate that something simple--like an online visit or an off-hours call to a family doctor--can head off illnesses and keep patients out of emergency rooms.

For more details on how cell phones are playing a huge role in patient-centered efforts:
- read the New York Times article