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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – The phrase “seeing the doctor” doesn’t have the same meaning it did 10 years ago. Technology has opened up a whole new frontier, and Louisiana is leading the charge to get more patients and doctors online.

“I can say 10:15 on this day and schedule it,” Melanie Forstall Lemoine said while glancing at her iPhone. She’s able to schedule an appointment with her pediatrician with just a few taps of her finger.

“I know that when 8 o’clock phone lines open, I’m one of many moms trying to call in to get those morning appointments,” she said.

Dr. Shelley Martin at the Baton Rouge Clinic encourages her patients to connect online. She’s able to care for Lemoine’s children outside of the exam room. William recently developed an ear infection at the beach.

“I actually took a picture of the ear, and I emailed it to Dr. Martin,” Lemoine recalled. “Within about maybe three hours, she and I had communicated more than once I had communicated with her nurse, we had established a treatment plan, I had directions for the prescription, and I did all of that essentially from our balcony at our condo.”

It’s called a ‘patient portal,’ and they’re popping up at hospitals and clinics around the state. It’s part of a new push by the Department of Health and Hospitals and Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum to establish a health infrastructure.

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