In today’s busy world, it seems like there as an app for everything. Working professionals, busy parents, and seniors are turning to apps that bring doctors and medical assistants to their homes. In the 1930s, about 40% of patient visits to doctors were house calls, but these visitations made up less than 1% of routine doctor-patient interactions by 1980. This trend is now reversing with the help of medical apps such as Heal.
This new startup which recently expanded to San Francisco bills itself as the Uber of house calls. The service allows users to either search for a nearby doctor available within the hour or to schedule an appointment. Medical assistants accompany the doctors to their home visits which cost $99 per visit.
Heal’s medical staff are on call from 8 AM to 8 PM. Patients have to pay additional costs for lab tests, imaging, prescriptions, and other services. The company’s executives say they want to divert patients from overcrowded ERs. Heal recently obtained $5 million in funding and plans expansion to 12 to 15 new markets within the next year.
Other parts of the country also have similar app-based medical services. In New York City, Pager will disburse a doctor within two hours for $50 for the first visit and then $200 afterwards. DrNow of Houston will provide in-home medical care for $199.
In addition to the convenience of seeing patients in their home, the use of mobile medical gadgets is fueling the trend. From on-the-spot testing kits for strep throat to heart-monitoring devices, medical professionals can perform tests in people’s homes that previously had to be done in a clinic. And doctors enjoy being able to spend as much time with their patients as they need to unlike typical visits to a clinic.