Primary care physicians by definition should be everyone’s first point of contact with the medical community for preventative health and help with medical problems. For an increasing number of Americans, however, that’s not how it works. The overall number of primary care physicians is decreasing as is the ratio of new doctors who choose more lucrative, more interesting, and more challenging specialties, according to a report in Medical and Life Sciences News. In the past, we’ve written about pop-up doctor’s offices and Swedish healthcare company KRY that provides accessible care via smartphone.
On May 1, 2018, 98point6 launched affordable on-demand primary care service in ten U.S. states. The number of states in which 98point6 physicians are currently seeing patients has now increased to 12 (see the full list below). 98point6 contracts with board-certified physicians and offers patients consultations 24/7 with no appointments, no time limits, and no copays. When patients have a problem or a question they access the app for a text-based consult with a 98point6 physician, sending video or photos as necessary. 98point6 doctors can order lab tests and prescribe medications with the exceptions of controlled substances and lifestyle medications such as Viagra and Propecia. Patients have access to their health record on 98point6, and the service will send medical records to another provider if requested, although patients will need to provide a copy of a state-issued ID. 98point6 is HIPAA compliant, according to the company, and compliant with the privacy and security laws in each state in which it operates.
For a low introductory price of $20 per person, anyone 18 years and older, with or without health insurance, can download the 98point6 app and get unlimited access to primary care physicians for 12 months. The company also has rates for employers to offer as a low-cost employee benefit. The states where 98point6 is available at the time of writing include California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington. 98point6 plans to roll out the service to patients in all 50 states and Washington D.C. by the end of 2018.