Medical care is as essential to life as food, water, and shelter, yet it’s fairly difficult to get it in a timely manner. Doctors require the patient to work around their schedule, which results in missed work, excessive wait times, and general frustration.
For patients in Canada, the average wait time for a doctor appointment can be between 14 to 37 weeks, but while cancellations happen all the time, there is no good system in place to fill the open spots. Doctr is a new startup which is enabling patients to book last-minute appointments when a doctor has a cancellation.
Users simply check the website or log into the app, select their needs, and as soon as an opening comes up, they receive an alert. Unlike standard notifications which give you hours or even days to respond, Doctr only gives the patient 10 minutes to accept the reservation. As soon as time runs out, the slot goes to the next person in the queue.
In addition to routine doctor appointments, the service also shows occupancy rates and waiting times for 120 emergency rooms. Users can also look up wait times for walk-in clinics for matters which aren’t as severe.
The app was launched in July 2015 and already has 81,000 users in Quebec.
For patients in the US, wait times aren’t as much of an issue as are costs – often patients are clueless about procedure costs because everything goes through insurance. While a doctor visit might cost $500, a patient might only have to actually fork over $50. As health insurance companies continue to raise their deductibles, patients are now trying to manage costs themselves.
While insurance companies typically have negotiated rates, the average patient pays what the provider wants. MD Save is helping patients cut their medical costs by being the Expedia for treatment.
When users go to the site, they simply enter the type of procedure they need and their location. MD Save then shows provider prices on a map, just like you would see when booking a hotel. Users pay for the procedure up front, receive a voucher, and then arrange the appointment.
Since the providers don’t have to deal with lengthy insurance billing cycles and paperwork, they’re often willing to offer discounts on patients paying directly. Some insurance companies even reimburse patients for out of pocket doctor costs, but the exact procedure varies from plan to plan.
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