When you’re sick and in need of urgent care, often the last thing you feel like doing is dragging yourself to an emergency room (ER).
Physically getting to the ER can be taxing enough, then the unavoidable long wait can seem a million times longer when you’re stressed and feeling lousy.
In addition to the physical discomfort, you’re also exposed to pathogens in hospitals, which can be overwhelming to your already vulnerable immune system.
“At the hospital you’re prone to a number of hospital-acquired infections caused by viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens, and there’s a high probability of your simple sore throat translating into a serious issue down the line,” explains Dr. Amer Alnajar, the head physician at Vytaliz—an innovative health care company that brings high-quality urgent care right to your bedside.
During his hospital residency, Dr. Alnajar noticed that a lot of people who came to the ER had minor illnesses like headaches, stomachaches, and sore throats. The reasons they came varied from not having a primary care doctor covered by their insurance to not getting an appointment with their busy city doctor in a timely fashion.
This huge unmet need for on-demand health care led Dr. Alnajar to launch Vytaliz (pronounced ‘vitalize’).
Vytaliz is an urgent care concierge service that deploys a nurse to your home or office within 30 minutes of sending in a request via the Vytaliz app, irrespective of where you are in the five boroughs of New York City.
“That nurse arrives with a big duffle bag … containing everything he/she needs to check the patient’s vitals and perform a proper physical assessment,” says Omar Elrabie, co-founder and director of operations at Vytaliz.
The bag includes an iPad that the nurse uses for video calling one of the company’s board-certified doctors, who then talks with the patient to determine the best course of treatment.
Nurses can give IV fluids for immediate symptom relief, while the doctor can electronically send prescription orders to a local pharmacy if need be.
The app can also be used for an ill relative visiting from out of town. Or if an elderly relative living elsewhere in New York needs immediate care, you can make a request using the GPS feature of the app, and a nurse will go wherever they are in the five boroughs.
“Instead of having to wait for an ambulance, or go to the ER and waste an entire day’s time, this process is purely convenient,” Mr. Elrabie said.
Next year, Vytaliz plans to expand its services to two or more cities.
There are other companies that do in-home medical visits; however according to Mr. Elrabie, Vytaliz is the only one that sends nurses instead of doctors, making it a more cost-efficient model.
Lab Work at Your Convenience
If you have a prescription for blood or urine tests, Vytaliz is staffed with 40 phlebotomists ready to come to your home or office to collect samples. All you have to do is upload a copy of your prescription to the app and schedule an appointment in advance or immediately.
This is especially convenient if your lab work needs to be done on an empty stomach because the phlebotomist can arrive as early as 7 a.m. “It is usually a hassle to fast all morning in order to make it to the blood draw center by lunch time, if not later,” Mr. Elrabie says.
From now through the end of August, this service is offered for free (it normally costs $59 per visit), so if your insurance covers the cost of lab testing, the entire process is absolutely free of charge.
By next year, Elrabie hopes to have all of Vytaliz services covered through medical insurance. Unlike many medical innovations that add costs for insurance companies, Vytaliz is actually about cost savings.
Compare Vytaliz’s $129 urgent care visit fee to the conventional $1,200 for the same services if the patient goes to an ER.
For patients using Vytaliz, costs are easy to understand as well.
“Vytaliz keeps pricing simple, straightforward, and transparent so you don’t land in a financial quagmire, which is the last thing you need when you’re trying to recover,” Dr. Alnajar says.
“You don’t have to worry about getting a bill that you were unaware of three months down the line,” he says, adding that despite being a physician, it took him a year to resolve a payment issue for a test that was supposed to be completely covered by his insurance.
He aims for Vytaliz to give the power of choice to patients, which under the current system often leaves them feeling helpless.
First time users get $100 off Vytaliz services. Promo code: EpochTimes
Hours: 7 a.m.–9 p.m.
Locations serviced: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx