When you're sick, getting out of bed and dragging yourself to the doctor's office may not be high on the list of things you want to do. Now, thanks to technology, you may not have to. Several new medical apps now exist that let you order a health care professional right to your door.
Nicole Motta, a photography student from Queens, New York, recently found herself in a situation where she was sick but couldn't get to a doctor. "It was impossible to get an appointment with my primary care doctor," she told CBS News.
Instead, she pulled out her smartphone and tried a new health app called Vytaliz, which allows you to type in your symptoms, and in about an hour, the company sends a nurse to your home. After running through Motta's symptoms - fever, headaches, cough, and stuffy nose - and checking her vital signs, the two used a tablet to video conference with a doctor, who said she most likely had an upper respiratory infection.
Vytaliz is one of a handful of companies offering house calls in larger cities. Dr. Kimberly Henderson, an emergency room physician, makes house calls for a similar app called Pager. Henderson said she travels with a doctor bag filled with everything from sutures to strep tests to 20 of the most prescribed medications. "When you are in the ER you spend two to three minutes tops with the patient," she told CBS News. "It's nice to be able to sit down and talk to the patient and get to know them."
Pager takes insurance but bills out of network. Vytaliz does not take insurance and costs around $200 per visit. But Motta, whose illness was treated with fluids and pain medication, said it was worth it. "I didn't waste any time waiting," she said. "So I feel that's the part that's really great."
The companies do not treat serious conditions that require an emergency room visit like chest pain, shortness of breath or head injury. In those cases patients are told to call 911.