Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 30, 2014

New Yorkers Can Request Flu Shots via a House Call

Busy New Yorkers won’t have an excuse for not getting a flu shot this year, thanks to an iPhone app that sends a medical professional directly to their home or office. According to app developer Pager, New Yorkers in Manhattan and Brooklyn can request a $25 flu shot via their smartphone.

Pager, the brain child of Oscar Salazar and co-founders Gaspard de Dreuzy and Philip Eytan, is a mobile app that enables users to request medical attention with the touch of a button. Users choose from different options depending on their needs and pay the fees accordingly. While the flu shot is $25, a phone consultation is $50, and a house call runs about $300.

The company has contracted with medical professionals, and they earn the bulk of the fees. A Pager doctor will get $250 of the $300 fee, for example, with the remainder going to the company.

The result is a mobile-based telemedicine app. Pager’s co-founders say the benefits work in multiple ways. Patients willing to pay will get better access to physicians in the busy New York area, where finding a doctor can be difficult. Physicians have a way to supplement their income without the hassles that stem from insurance practices and organizational bureaucracy.

According to the company, doctors in the Pager network are board-certified primary care physicians and specialize in emergency medicine, family practice, or internal medicine. They can perform diagnostic exams, physicals, prescribe medications, and order and interpret lab tests and x-rays.

The service currently operates in Manhattan and Brooklyn and is expanding to additional cities throughout this year and 2015. The app is currently only available for Apple iOS devices.

Pager isn’t the only company trying to tie 21st century mobile communications with early 20th century medical practices. Competing app developers include Doctor on Demand, which connects doctors and patients through private video conferencing via a mobile app. The app also faces competition from more traditional telemedicine companies include MDLive, American Well and Teladoc.

Research firm IHS estimates the number of telemedicine patients will increase from 250,000 in 2013 to more than 3.2 million patients in 2018. Meanwhile, the overall value of the U.S. telehealth market will reach $1.9 billion in 2018 compared to about $230 million today, making the growth rate more than 56 percent annually.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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