In today’s always-on society, customers expect that services will be provided to them quickly, when desired. More and more companies are jumping aboard the on-demand business model bandwagon that has proven successful (think of services such as Seamless, Netflix and Handy, to name a few). Now, “Uber for healthcare” is jumping into the mix.
Pager is one such healthcare startup that has recently announced significant traction with investors. The company, which launched in 2014, allows Manhattan residents to request via their mobile app an in-person visit from a board-certified doctor within two hours. The company’s ultimate goal is to provide the right kind of care at the right price and at the right time. So how much does it cost? According to their website, the first visit is $50 and subsidized by Pager. After that, the cost of care varies, with physicals priced at $100 and most other treatments coming in at $200. At the moment, users must pay out of pocket (Pager offers help in submitting charges to insurance companies), but the company plans to start taking insurance for all services before the end of this year.
Many people have been keeping an eye on Pager’s progress because one of its co-founders is Oscar Salazar, an engineer who was part of the team that built mega-successful Uber. His reputation in the space has helped with investors and with the product, and makes Pager stand out among the many other startups competing for funds and attention.
Pager and a slew of additional on-demand doctor services (see chart below) are reinventing the traditional doctor-patient experience with a new generation of house calls. The services provide a range of non-emergency medical care similar to walk-in clinics (e.g., performing an annual physical, providing a flu shot, sutures). Most of the services do not currently accept insurance, but they say patients can pay with health savings accounts or submit out-of-network expenses.
So will in-office doctor visits become obsolete? Probably not, but it will be interesting to see how consumers adapt this model. As communicators, it’s important for us to monitor how the landscape continues to change so we can tailor our approach and ensure we’re reaching our target audiences. Who knows? This may alter the traditional patient-physician dialogue and ultimately, how we develop in-office communications.
After reading up on the topic, I would like to try it out the next time I need to see a doctor. I don’t know about you, but to me, convenience is everything.
Source: The Wall Street Journal: the on-demand doctor startup business models vary slightly