It’s been decades since doctors made house calls as a matter of standard practice. But if several startups have their way, app-based medical services could change all that.

According to the Wall Street Journal, several companies are fighting to put their own “high-tech spin on old-fashioned house calls,” hoping to revolutionize the medical industry in the same way Uber revolutionized urban transportation.

The services provide a range of nonemergency medical care—from giving flu shots to treating strep throats and stitching lacerations—much like a mobile urgent-care clinic.

The companies use slightly different models. Pager, in New York City, dispatches doctors or nurse practitioners via Uber, for $200. Heal, in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County, Calif., promises to “get a doctor to your sofa in under an hour” for $99. (A medical assistant goes along to do the driving and parking.)

According to the WSJ, house calls accounted for 40 percent of all doctor visits in 1930. But by 1980, that number had fallen to less than 1 percent. Whether or not new technology can revive the practice in any meaningful way remains to be seen. But there seem to be a lot of companies betting that it will.

(Source: The Wall Street Journal)