You can use different apps to order dinner, call a cab, find a date, and get directions. Now, a new startup wants to add one more thing to that list: seeing a doctor.
Pager, currently being beta-tested in Manhattan, is a location-based app that connects patients with doctors. People with a non-urgent medical problem can use the app to request a doctor for a phone consultation or house call. Phone consultations cost $50, while a formal house call is $300.
The startup is the work of Kapitall co-founder Gaspard de Dreuzy, Livestream investor Philip Eytan and Uber co-founder Oscar Salazar. Pager Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Boxer, who is creating and organizing the company's network of physicians, says the need for such a service is obvious.
When his son in New York got food poisoning, Boxer says, "He called me -- I'm in Los Angeles -- and I tried to advise him as best I could about taking fluids, et cetera. I was thinking that perhaps he should go to an ER or urgent care center, but he was feeling weak -- although not in the life-threatening way that would warrant an ambulance. It would have been a huge relief if he'd been able to contact a physician to come to his apartment, take a look at him and distinguish between something that is very serious and something that is going to pass."
According to Boxer, minor, non-life-threatening illnesses account for at least 20-40 percent of all emergency room and doctor's office visits. Pager expects "to get calls about upper respiratory infections, abdominal discomfort, sprains, maybe rashes, perhaps urinary tract infections," Boxer said.
Pager only currently serves Manhattan residents with iPhones, and the company has about 20 doctors on call so far. "This is the principal beta testing to evaluate the need and demand for Pager," Boxer said. If tests are successful, the company plans to expand across New York and to a few other major metropolitan areas, though Boxer remains tight-lipped as to which.
Meanwhile, if you're in Manhattan, have an iPhone and feel like you may have eaten something funny, you can find out more about Pager here. Pager doctors can treat adults and children, prescribe medication, provide referrals, perform diagnostic tests and interpret x-rays and laboratory examinations.