But anywhere the patient-to-provider interaction is consultative in nature, there will be someone looking to connect them via technology.
In a future where telehealth is more the norm, a midlevel provider may be the primary link across the screen, with the primary care provider being the expert sorting through data.
In a regional system with networked telehealth, one specialist in an area such as infectious diseases could cover many hospitals.
In critical care, where telemedicine has been rooted for decades, the discipline itself has become a blend of hands-on care and analyzing remote data.
The path is not all clear, however.
Reimbursements of telehealth visits remain a primary barrier to use, as do technology costs, credentialing, and other regulatory hurdles.
These barriers seem to be shrinking every year. Disruptive technology, after all, is about pressure.
In this case, consumers, employers, a growing telehealth industry, and even providers are pushing the industry upward. It's only a matter of time before telehealth grows up.
Jim Molpus is an editor for HealthLeaders.