A new company called Pager, an Uber-like service, sends doctors to patients’ homes.
Pager and similar companies like Heal and Medicast aim to streamline medical care — cutting out waiting rooms, receptionists and trips to the doctor’s office.
“It’s a completely different experience when you’re sick and able to stay in your pajamas,” says one mother. “Someone comes to your home, they’re kind to you, they answer all your questions and give you all the time you need.”
But some doctors warn there could be drawbacks to convenience-driven medical care, especially if it disrupts an already complex, fragmented health care system. As the app makers search for a sustainable business model, however, it appears they are more likely to end up working with traditional medical providers, than against them.
House calls were once commonplace in the U.S. Today, 9 out of 10 general practitioners say they do not typically make house calls, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
But new phone apps may signal a comeback for house calls.
Pager is currently only available in New York City but it will expand to San Francisco in coming weeks. A rival company on the West Coast, Heal, already operates in San Francisco, Orange County and L.A.
It is significantly cheaper than the median cost of an emergency room visit: $505, according to federal figures. The ER is often the only medical option for people without insurance.