If you’re a Cellular One customer in Louisiana or Texas and need to talk to a doctor, you now have a very high-tech option. You can conduct a video chat using Skype(s msft) or Facetime(s aapl), or just have a phone conversation with a board-certified physician on your mobile phone. It costs $30 per consult and is billed to your mobile account.
The service is powered by iSelectMD, a telemedicine outfit founded in 2010 that is trying to create a health network via mobile phones. iSelectMD is working with companies as a supplemental healthcare service for non-emergency medical services, but it’s also trying to work directly with mobile carriers to make mobile health an element of their service plans.
That’s where the Competitive Carriers Association comes in. The CCA represents the myriad of regional and rural carriers in the U.S. (along with Sprint(s s) and T-Mobile(s tmus) scratching out a market under the imposing shadows of AT&T(s t) and Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod). In an effort to level the playing field the CCA is partnering with different companies, from cloud services outfits to crowdsourced Wi-Fi providers, to offer its collective membership a means of differentiating themselves from the big operators.
CCA’s work with iSelectMD is one of those partnerships. It’s starting with Cellular One but will expand to other regional carriers. These operators serve the most furthest-flung consumers in the U.S., many of whom live in areas where immediate access to healthcare isn’t a given.