No doubt you have heard of apps such as Uber and Lyft. They’re both mobile apps that connect passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services. These have both picked up in popularity and have reached every major city in the United States. It’s easy. You click a button that you want a cab and then one shows up in as quickly as a few minutes. What if you could do this with a doctor?
This is just what a few companies are working on developing. Having a doctor make house calls was commonplace over a century ago, but now it seems to have all but disappeared. In the 1930s, physician house calls amounted to 40% off all doctor visits and in the 1980s that number dropped off to less than 1% of all doctor visits.
Apps like Pager and Medicast seek to change this notion and now a patient can request a doctor with just a push of a button. The developer of the app Pager was Uber co-founder Oscar Salazar who saw the opportunity within the medical space for such an app. The service is currently available in Manhattan and will expand service to Brooklyn next week. The doctors are available from 8am to 10 pm 365 days a year. There is an additional fee for after hours and weekends.
Their customers range from people such as business people with limited time and parents who don’t want to take their children to an emergency room.
A similar company called Medicast was started in South Florida at the end of 2013. They now have services in Sand Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles.
Currently either company does not accept any insurance plans, but are in talks to make this available. They offer flat rates for house calls which start at $199. There are also monthly plans which will allow them two or four visits per year.
These house calls have various advantages including privacy and convenience, but they are not without their limitations. The doctor may not have various required equipment available to them in the standard hospital environment. There are also conditions that doctors may not be able to handle such as heart attacks and required a standard emergency room environment.
For now, the concept proves very promising for non-emergency situations. Who knows, maybe in the future we’ll have doctors coming back to us for our regular checkups.