Heal, a company that allows patients to book physician house calls through an app-driven digital scheduling and processing platform, announced this morning that it has raised $20 million in new investment capital, bringing the company’s raised total to more than $69 million.
The investment came from Bascom Ventures, Inflection Capital, IRA Capital, RLJ Equity Partners, Trans-Pacific Technology Fund, and others. They join the company’s earlier collection of investors, which include Fidelity Contrafund, Lionel Richie, Dr. Paul Jacobs, Jim Breyer, and others.
“We are reestablishing relationship-based house calls for primary, preventive, and urgent care to both deliver primary care in its correct form — which is an unhurried visit with a doctor who knows you and knows your family in the privacy of your own home environment — and using that as a gateway for better health outcomes, better life, and cost controls across the healthcare continuum,” Heal CEO and cofounder Nick Desai told MobiHealthNews. “Effective primary care is the most effective way to identify issues early or prevent them entirely, and to lower costs and improve health outcomes for patients of all ages.”
Patients can use Heal’s app or website to request a licensed doctor for routine illness or urgent care seven days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm. Appointments are, on average, more than twice the length of the national average and, according to Desai, offer physicians a chance to better engage the patient and incorporate factors of their home life into an assessment of overall health.
“We’re taking private care doctors out of environments where they’re seeing 40-plus patients a day, they’re spending less than seven minutes with a patient, they have about 700 hours a year of unpaid time doing charting, bureaucracy, and paperwork,” he said. “We’re paying them competitive full-time salaries to see 12 to 14 patients a day, spend more time with the patients, use state-of-the-art technologies in charting, encoding, and providing that care, and … increasing their happiness, their effective hourly wages, and most importantly the quality of care they provide.”
Key to Heal’s approach is its technology platform. Through the app, patients can easily request and schedule an appointment while much of the back-end administrative work — doctor assignments, patient records, credit card charges, prescriptions, care plan delivery, charting, and more — is handled automatically. Importantly, Desai stressed that it’s a platform that doesn’t remove the necessary human element of a healthcare encounter.
“The way we’re using technology is not to replace the doctor or further disintermediate doctor and patient like a lot of approaches do where it’s AI, or it’s a bot, or it’s a telemedicine call with a doctor, or those kinds of things,” he said. “We’re doing exactly the opposite. We’re having doctors spend more time with patients, see less patients in a day, and treat the patient effectively for their overall health.”
Since launching in early 2015, Heal says that it has delivered more than 60,000 house calls and fueled total healthcare cost savings exceeding $41 million ($1,050 average savings per patient per year), which Desai said primarily comes from fewer wasted medications, improved accuracy, and earlier diagnoses and treatments.
Currently the company operates in the major markets of California, northern Virginia, and Washington D.C., although Desai said that the company has plans to expand beyond these regions with the new funding. Other goals enabled by the investment include a business model expansion from fee-for-service to managed care plans, and continued product development specifically targeting technologies that can improve the efficacy of a doctor-patient interaction such as remote diagnostics or sensors, Desai said.
"Over the last three years, we’ve re-established unhurried, relationship-based house calls as a gateway for cost controls and improved outcomes throughout the healthcare industry," Dr. Renee Dua, chief medical officer and cofounder of Heal, said in a statement. "Now it's time to realize the full potential of Heal to truly reboot the US healthcare system for patients, providers, and payers."