Some of the ideas demoed at New York Tech Meetup can use a bit of TLC before they get on their feet, but Tuesday night brought out an app that literally books house calls from doctors.
The other demos (see slideshow) featured at the monthly gathering for new ideas in tech included a Web service for stealthily searching for new jobs and a personal robot that follows voice commands.
The gist of Pager’s app, though, is to reduce visits to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms for maladies that can be treated at home. The startup is backed by Montages Ventures and Lux Capital.
Toby Hervey, general manager for New York-based Pager, showed how users can post the symptoms and details of their illnesses. Then the app shows nearby doctors who can address their problems. Doctors using Pager can see patients’ locations and medical histories based on prior visits. Patients can also communicate with doctors through what Hervey said is a HIPAA-compliant text messaging feature.
Pager is not alone in trying to change how patients interact with their doctors. Captureproof in San Francisco developed an app and Web portal that lets people send photos of their injuries to their doctors, who then decide on next steps, which can include in-person treatment. Where Captureproof is aimed at being a way for doctors to assess patients remotely—through photos, videos, and chat—before paying a visit, Pager is about summoning doctors to patients.
Jasper Schmidt, Pager’s medical director, said although telemedicine offers alternative ways to provide patient care, he believes there is no substitute for in-person treatment. Schmidt is also an emergency medicine doctor. He said doctors performing house calls through Pager can treat lacerations and cuts that may need some stitches, and other minor injuries. “We’re set up to treat pretty much anything you’d take to an urgent care center,” Schmidt said.
Users of the app pay a standard rate of $199 for each visit during the day. The first time the app is used to book a visit, users pay just $49. Hervey said the startup is working on getting listed as an in-network provider service with insurers. Pager’s service is available in New York, and the company plans to expand to cities such as San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami.