Doctors turn to thumbs to diagnosis and treat by text

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Millions of Americans now have access to a newer form of health care that connects patients with doctors in just a few minutes or less.

This fast service comes with a catch: The patient probably won’t see or talk to the doctor because they only type out messages to each other.

Companies like CirrusMD and 98point6 now offer message-based treatment for injuries or minor illnesses normally handled by a doctor’s office or clinic.

They say their businesses make care even more accessible than video telemedicine. Patients accustomed to Uber-like convenience can text with a doctor while riding a bus or waiting in a grocery store line.

But some doctors worry about the quality of care provided by physicians who won’t see their patients and might not know them very well.

Tom Murphy, The Associated Press