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“Uber Docs”

The past few years have seen the rise – or resurgence—of physician house calls. New technologies, such as online scheduling, skype and face-time, and portable imaging and laboratory tests have enabled health care providers, colloquially referred to as “Uber Docs,” to bring the benefits of the clinical care setting with them to a patient’s home or office.

Aside from increasing the likelihood that patients will receive primary care, and timely care in urgent but not emergent situations by lowering the time and travel barriers to care, these “Uber docs” help keep non-emergent cases out of the Emergency Departments (ED), reducing wait times for others. They have the added benefit of often being less expensive than ED co-pay for many, despite the fact that most do not accept insurance payment.

The chart below compares the average wait time to see an “Uber Doc” from the time and appointment request is submitted until the time a health care provider arrives at the patient’s home or office, with the average national wait time in an ED from the time a patient is checked in until the patient first sees a health care provider, until they are released, and until they receive pain medications (when appropriate). The graph also compares average out of pocket costs for these providers (after insurance).[1]

 

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[1] http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/04/23/Uber-Doctors-5-Apps-Bring-Back-House-Calls; https://projects.propublica.org/emergency/.

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