Pager, the “on-demand” health care startup founded by early Uber engineer Oscar Salazar, is following a familiar path: It’s pivoting.
The New York-based company made a name for itself for modernizing the house call (use the app to request a doctor come to your house), but it is now expanding into telemedicine (chat with a doctor or nurse for a consultation via a smartphone) and it is partnering with New York Presbyterian’s Weill-Cornell hospital (a patient will be assessed virtually and referred to a specialist at Weill-Cornell if necessary). It is also developing partnerships with the largest insurers, including Aetna, Cigna, and United, which would mean more reimbursement for telemedicine consults and in-home visits. “Going in-network allows us to play within the pay structure that health care has built,” Pager’s Andrew Chomer says.
The move makes sense, as it is an expensive proposition for a doctor to visit someone’s home. And it’s a challenge to scale that to other cities. Pager’s Gaspard de Dreuzy says the company wants to ultimately be the technology layer on top of a variety of existing medical services, similarly to competitors like American Well.