Service lets you see doctor over the internet

From her home in Florida's southwest Miami-Dade County, Priscilla Bakes has a doctor's appointment with Dr. Adonis Maiquez in northwest Miami.

The appointment was made possible by, a Web site based in South Florida.

"MDWebLive would not be for emergencies," explained co-founder Dr. Stephan Parker. "But minor infections, rashes, colds, flu, earaches, eye irritation, those are just some of the things you could come to MDWebLive for."

Bakes found out about the Web site through her daughter, who is a publicist for MDWebLive.

Her symptoms were real, and within a few minutes, the doctor had a diagnosis and ordered medication online.

No blood pressure or temperature measurements were taken.

Patients pay $99.95 to access MDWebLive.

The fee includes a camera, headset and the first online doctor's visit.

After that, it's $40 up front per consultation.

Some insurance companies reimburse for the service.

It is convenient, but it's also controversial.

Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger, the president of the Dade County Medical Association, said patients must have a traditional face-to-face relationship with their doctors before using telemedicine.

"You see the physician first, establish patient-physician relationship, do a complete physical exam," Wollschlaeger said. "You can utilize the online consultation as an adjunct in your relationship, but not as a substitute for your relationship."

The telemedicine law in Florida requires "physical examination" before a physician can prescribe treatment online but does not spell out if that means "in person".

Still, Wollschlaeger pointed out there are things you cannot see with a webcam.

"Look into the nose, for example, if you think sinus, touch the sinuses if there's any sensitivity," Wollschlaeger said.

Parker countered that.