In Boston, the average new patient has to wait 52 days to see a physician.
It’s no surprise, then, that “long wait time” is cited as one of patients’ biggest pain points when it comes to our healthcare system.
Frustrated by this statistic, Dr. Paula Muto, a local surgeon with more than 20 years of experience, decided to create her own solution to the problem: UBERDOC.
Unlike traditional healthcare services that are “overburdened with bureaucracy,” Muto’s new web-based app instantly connects patients needing urgent medical care directly to specialists in areas such as orthopedics, gynecology, pain management, general surgery and more.
Using UBERDOC to book an appointment does not require a referral, insurance paperwork or months of waiting. Instead, patients can pay a transparent cash fee of $300 upfront and set a time to see a specialist of their choice.
“I find it very exciting on the doctor’s side because doctors like to connect to their patients,” Muto said. “They don’t care about your insurance; they just want to make sure they have access to new patients so they can solve their problems. And we’re building a model that we think surgeons and doctors will like.”
Muto had the idea for the startup after reading an article about a woman who needed surgery and was referred to an out-of-state provider. Since the woman couldn’t travel, she Googled nearby orthopedic surgeons, booked an appointment and paid a transparent price upfront.
By going outside of her insurance, the woman got the help she needed quickly, and Muto thought, "Why can’t it always be this easy?"
We’re just making a connection and trying to reduce the cost for the patient.”
“We’re not doing anything proprietary,” Muto said. “We’re just making a connection and trying to reduce the cost for the patient.”
UBERDOC currently works with around 55 surgical specialists — all available for express appointments at a flat rate of $300, which patients pay out-of-pocket with a health savings account or a credit card.
If additional care is needed after their first appointment booked through UBERDOC, patients can later invoke their insurance coverage for additional or surgical procedures. Primary care doctors are not a part of the program yet.
Right now, most of the doctors are located in North Andover, Beverly and North Chelmsford, but Muto wants to expand the company's partnerships across the country.
“From a firsthand perspective in the trenches, I’ve seen the failures of healthcare,” Muto said. “And I thought, ‘I could keep writing angry letters, or I could try and change it.’”