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The sharing economy expands to healthcare

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An Uber driver. App is on the phone on dashboard.

In another development that will help tip over long-entrenched  structures of healthcare, startups are developing  Uber-style models for that old-fashioned medical tool — house calls. Most of this won’t involve insurance.

The idea is to provide a wide range of nonemergency medical care, such as for colds and flu, stitching up bad cuts,  and treating strep throat and pink eye and sprains. Look at these services as mobile urgent-care clinics.

The Wall Street Journal has some examples: “Pager, in New York City, dispatches physicians or nurse practitioners via Uber, for $200. Heal, in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County, Calif., promises to ‘get a doctor to your sofa in under an hour’ for $99. (A medical assistant goes along to do the driving and parking.)

“RetraceHealth, in Minneapolis, has a nurse practitioner consult with patients via video (for $50), and only comes to their homes if hands-on care like a throat swab or blood draw is necessary (for $150).”

“Atlanta-based MedZed sends a nurse to a patient’s home to do a preliminary exam. Then the nurse connects via laptop with a doctor who provides a treatment plan remotely. Several Atlanta practices use MedZed as a way to offer patients extended hours without having to keep their offices open.”

“Most of the services don’t accept insurance, but they say patients can pay with health savings accounts or submit out-of-network claims.”


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