Virtual doctors’ practices are being trialled in the US city of Boston and in Hawaii, with patients receiving an online consultation.

Web cameras, instant messaging and other e-technology being used to help decrease healthcare costs, are also in development, according to

Massachusetts General Hospital internist Dr Ronald Dixon uses the videoconferencing in his practice.

He told that virtual visits may be suitable for common ailments, including diabetes and hypertension but not for complex health problems.

The technology is not suitable for some types of examinations but can be used in standard procedures such blood pressure check-ups.

Hawaii’s Blue Cross Blue Shield through its Online Healthcare Marketplace enables patients to instantly visit specialists virtually around the clock.

Patients can also opt for a videoconferencing session with a specialist, a phone consultation, or instant email communication through a secure website.