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February 26, 2017

Housecall-app Heal expanding nationwide in US

Heal, one of the most successful doctor-on-demand efforts yet in the US, on Wednesday announced a nationwide expansion. Heal’s founders claim that its service has already saved millions and reduced members’ ER visits by over 60 percent. Heal is among a growing host of health-related apps that are bringing back the time of house calls.

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The startup was previously been available in select cities on the West Coast including the California locations of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Silicon Valley, and San Diego, and it’s already facilitated 16,000 patient house call visits, saved an estimated $5.9 million in healthcare costs, and reduced non-emergency trips to the ER by 62 percent for its patients and partners. In the coming months, it’ll begin providing service to cities in New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

Heal is a really young company, Digital Trends writes. “In February 2015, we saw our first Heal patient — ever,” said Nick Desai, CEO and co-founder at Heal. Now the startup is expanding its mission of striving to make healthcare more effective, intuitive, and affordable for all, to all of the US.

Transforming broken healthcare system

Nick Desai and Dr. Reneee Dua co-founded Heal with the ambitious mission of transforming the ‘broken healthcare system’,  by creating a more efficient doctor’s office in the privacy of homes and offices. The idea’s to free board-certified doctors from the burden of seeing dozens of in-office patients each day, giving them more time to take care of patients.

Desai believes that as much as $40 billion annually is being wasted in the overuse of emergency rooms. Apps like Heal can lower costs for the larger healthcare system while improving health outcomes for patients.

He also sees a big market for apps like Heal. “Sixty percent of Americans want a doctor who will make house calls. The health care system is broken — and no one is happy. Patients aren’t getting needed access to quality primary care, doctors aren’t practicing the quality medical care they’ve been trained to, hospitals aren’t living by measures consistent with what’s best for the patient.”

Dozens of apps available

According to NBC last October, having a health-care provider meet you at home or work is as simple as downloading the app, entering your address and credit card information, and requesting the time you want a doctor to visit.

‘Services like Dose are becoming available by the dozens. Like Mend in Dallas, Heal in San Francisco and Pager in New York City, all offering at-home visits. In the case of Dose there is a flat fee of 99 dollar. The GP will diagnose and treat you and dispense medications right at home — even saving people time from going to the pharmacy.’

Insurance as hurdle

Of course one possible limitation – as is the case often with new forms of healtcare, is Insurance. Not all house calls are covered by Insurance, Critics also worry that the level of care isn’t comparable to being treated at doctor’s office. Not everything can be treated at home. Major broken bones, chest pain and situations involving controlled substances for chronic pain for example.

Insurancewise at least , Heal is in good shape. It’s in-network with all major PPO insurance companies and Medicare, and patients who don’t have insurance coverage pay a flat $100 fee for the house call. Its investors include Fidelity ContraFund, Thomas Tull, Facebook investor Jim Breyer, the Ellison Family, musician Lionel Richie, Dr. Paul Jacobs, and others.

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