“One night, when her face turned puffy and painful from what she thought was a sinus infection, Jessica DeVisser briefly considered going to an urgent care clinic, but decided to try something kind of sci-fi. She went online and requested a virtual consultation. She typed in her symptoms and credit card number, and within half an hour, a doctor appeared on her screen via Skype. He looked her over, asked some questions and agreed she had sinusitis. In minutes, Ms. DeVisser, a stay-at-home mother, had an antibiotics prescription called in to her pharmacy.” A. Goodnough- New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Modern Doctors’ House Calls: Skype Chat and Fast Diagnosis by Abby Goodnough New York Times
“The same forces that have made instant messaging and video calls part of daily life for many Americans are now shaking up basic medical care. Health systems and insurers are rushing to offer video consultations for routine ailments, convinced they will save money and relieve pressure on overextended primary care systems in cities and rural areas alike. And more people like Ms. DeVisser, fluent in Skype and FaceTime and eager for cheaper, more convenient medical care, are trying them out.
But telemedicine is facing pushback from some more traditional corners of the medical world. Medicare, which often sets the precedent for other insurers, strictly limits reimbursement for telemedicine services out of concern that expanding coverage would increase, not reduce, costs. Some doctors assert that hands-on exams are more effective and warn that the potential for misdiagnoses via video is great.
Legislatures and medical boards in some states are listening carefully to such criticisms, and a few, led by Texas, are trying to slow the rapid growth of virtual medicine. But many more states are embracing the new world of virtual house calls, largely by updating rules to allow doctor-patient relationships to be established and medications to be prescribed via video.
Advocates say virtual visits for basic care could reduce costs over the long term…Even as virtual visits multiply, researchers say it is not clear whether they really save money or provide better outcomes… Ms. DeVisser turned out to be one of those cases. While happy with her virtual visit last summer, she ended up going to her primary care doctor a few weeks later because the antibiotics had not fully cleared up her sinus problems. At least it mitigated the problem, she said of her video consultation.”
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.
Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about doctors making diagnosis over the web. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.Students can use this colorful chart by Creately.com
II. While Reading Tasks
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart by Freeology for assistance.
- Instant messaging and video calls are part of daily life for many Americans.
- Health systems are rushing to offer video consultations for routine ailments.
- Telemedicine is facing pushback from some more traditional medical doctors.
- Medicare, often sets the precedent for other insurers.
- There are strict limits for reimbursement concerning telemedicine services.
- Some doctors assert that hands-on exams are more effective.
- Advocates say virtual visits for basic care could reduce costs.
- It’s plausible, that people who do a virtual visit would otherwise have stayed home.
- Even as virtual visits multiply, researchers say it is not clear whether they really save money.
- Carena, a private company in Seattle employs 17 physicians to do virtual consultations.
Reading Comprehension : Word -Recognition
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
While/will telemedicine consult/consultations have been/being around for decades, they have mostly connected/connect specialists/special with patients in remote/remove areas, who almost always had to visitation/visit a clinic or hospital for the videoconference. The difference know/now is that patients can be wherever they want/wish and use their own smartphones or table/tablets for the visits, which are trending toward more basic care.
Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- More people are fluent in Skype and FaceTime.
- More states is embracing the new world of virtual house calls.
- Health systems are facing stiff competition.
- Telemedicine consultations have been around on decades.
- Patients can use their own smartphones or tablets for the visits.
- Mount Sinai in New York is starting to offer video visits for primary care patients.
- Some large insurers is starting to pay, too.
- Virtual urgent care visits are undoubtedly less expensive.
- Users are prescribed medication about 40 percent of the time.
III. Post Reading Tasks
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.
1. The following two statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.
“Advocates say virtual visits for basic care could reduce costs over the long term. It is cheaper to operate telemedicine services than brick-and-mortar offices, allowing companies to charge as little as $40 or $50 for consultations — less than for visits to emergency rooms, urgent care centers and doctors’ offices.”
“They also say that by letting people talk to a doctor whenever they need to, from home or work, virtual visits make for more satisfied and potentially healthier patients than traditional appointments that are available only at certain times.”
2. In your opinion do you think virtual doctor visits are helpful? Explain why or why not?
Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.