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MyHouseCall App Makes Doctor Visits Convenient, Affordable
By Vanessa Orr

It's bad enough being sick. But when you have to get out of bed, get dressed and go to see the doctor when all you really need is a prescription, it makes you feel even worse.

MyHouseCall is changing all that. Launched this past January, the app enables you to request a telemedicine (video) visit with a physician or nurse practitioner, or if you live in Allegheny County, you can receive an in-person house call.
"I used to work in a family practice office, and you could see how frustrated people were with the waiting time, and the staff was frustrated that people didn't show up for their appointments," explained co-founder and COO Michael Cole. Other co-founders include Dr. Stephen Ritz, who serves as CEO, Dr. Chris Fleissner, and Eric Cole.

"Telemedicine allows us to see simpler, acute conditions with a 5- to 15-minute video visit, but we also have a house call option for more complex or sicker patients," he continued. "By combining new-school telemedicine with the old-school house call, we provide a convenient yet affordable option."

To take advantage of MyHouseCall services, a person just downloads the free app and puts in a request. It's available for iPhone and Android devices through the Apple App store and the Google Play store. "If a person lives in Mt. Lebanon, for example, they can request either a house call or telemedicine visit," said Cole, adding that anyone in Allegheny County has access to both services. "If the person lives outside the county, the app will give them the option of a telemedicine visit."

The patient provides a zip code, basic demographic information and a past medical history, just as they would at a doctor's office. The app meets all HIPAA standards for privacy, and also features end-to-end encryption to protect users' medical information. Patients also have access to all of their medical notes within the app.

Users pay for services using a credit card or FSA/HSA card; insurance is currently not accepted. Telemedicine visits cost $39 and house calls cost $99. "It's as simple as putting in a request for an Uber," said Cole.

To date, the majority of MyHouseCall's users have utilized the telemedicine option to treat issues including colds, bladder infections, rashes, and the flu. "People really like the virtual visits because they are low-cost and they are typically seen within minutes," said Cole. "House calls tend to be for patients who are non-ambulatory, who have more complex medical issues, or for younger children."

MyHouseCall's staff includes licensed and board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners, many of whom come from primary care and urgent care backgrounds.

"By providing a platform that connects patients and providers, we're hoping to streamline patient care," said Cole. "Basically we want to be an at-home triage service that believes in the right service, right cost, and right location for patients' particular medical needs."

To learn more, visit www.MyHouseCall.net.

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