I am old enough to remember when as a child I was ill on a couple of occasions and my Mom called for a doctor to make a house call. Mom would say, “this service is a Godsend,” since who wants to take their sick child out into a cold, damp, New York winter. Within an hour or so, the man with a black bag and a license to heal was at our door. He carried standard meds along with the tools to take your vitals. A diagnosis would follow with a prescription and excellent advice. Now that was service, service that has disappeared from the American landscape over the past 50 years or so. Thanks to Dr. Mark Baker those days are coming back, with a twist.
Dr. Baker is a British doctor who has developed a service that is being launched in the coming weeks known as KallDoc. KallDoc is an Uber-like service that marries old fashion house calls with modern technology. Dr. Baker tells me that in the UK doctors still make house calls and that this service is part of their national health system (Hey U.S. Presidential Candidates, are you listening?). Dr. Baker researched and found that there are between 5 – 12% of qualified doctors in the U.S. who are qualified to practice medicine but do not. This pool is made up of two large groups of doctors who are not involved in a full-time practice and are either semi-retired or coming back to practice after taking time off. It is primarily these doctors who make up the pool of qualified medical practitioners who participate in the program. On the patient’s side, there are many who would rather not travel across town and spend hours in a waiting room before being seen by a doctor. So Dr. Baker looked at these facts and decided the market was there and applying an Uber model to an on-call medical service made a lot of sense. I personally agree.
Here in the U.S., this service would be pay-as-you-go and not generally covered by insurance, at least initially. However filling out the necessary claim forms as an out-of-network doctor visit may be honored by some plans.
With the development of the IoT (Internet of Things) technology, many of which are related to healthcare, a virtual doctor visit is becoming a reality. Health tech products like Qardio Arm (blood pressure monitor) or MOCAheart could provide the doctor with the vital data he would need during a virtual visit. An iPad or dedicated medical panel like that being developed by KallDoc could provide the face to face contact and communication with your doctor. The health tech available today can provide heart rate,blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, blood flow velocity, temperature and more. Being able to take these readings in the comfort of your own home and securely share them with your doctor is already a reality. In regards to security, KallDoc stores little to no patient medical data on their servers. Instead, personal medical data remains on the user’s device.
Like Uber, you can access KallDoc from your iOS or Android device or from your desktop. Signup at KallDoc.com for a doctor visit or tele-medical visit. The service is being launched later this month. Doctor visits will initially be available in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Houston, with more areas coming online in the coming months. Visits start at $99 and tele-visits at $45.