Monday, September 7, 2015

A Dog-Eat-Dog Business, Part 10

My last post reported a housecall service that charged an unbelievable fee. By an odd coincidence within a week I came across another new service with an even more unbelievable fee: $99.

A high-tech startup similar to Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft, Heal is clearly the wave of the future. You download its app. If illness strikes, you click on it, enter information, and (according to the web site) a doctor arrives within an hour. Business was brisk, its medical director assured me.

With a “medical assistant,” driving, Heal’s doctors care for acute illnesses, performing complex procedures that I don’t do such as suturing, injecting joints, and even complete physical exams.

Paying the doctor, driver, staff, and investors at $99 per housecall seems impossible, especially since the web site emphasizes that there are no extra charges. On the other hand, taxi companies complain bitterly about Uber, and hotels denounce Airbnb, yet both are prospering. Financial acumen is not my strong point, so it’s possible that Heal will drive me and my more expensive colleagues out of business.

If so, I might to work for them. Pay is low for a doctor but acceptable to me. Having a driver would relieve a major stress, and I might enjoy not being on-call 24 hours a day. This blog would vanish, but you could read Heal’s. It lacks my whimsy, being mostly earnest medical advice and public relatoins, but $99 will not include entertaining literary diversions.

Let me know if it works for you.

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