Heal, maker of an app for booking and processing physician house calls, is making an unexpected addition to its platform: a built-in telemedicine feature that customers may use to conduct voice or video calls with a provider.
For a company that often stresses the value and benefits of an in-person visit, the decision to introduce a degree of separation between the patient and a clinician may seem like a hard pivot. However, the company stressed in its announcement this morning that the service will only be available for patients booking follow-up appointments, and will always be conducted by a doctor who has already met with the patient in their home.
“Typical telemedicine is plagued by low uptake, under-diagnoses, and over-prescription,” Nick Desai, CEO and cofounder of Heal, said in a statement. “There’s a huge difference between an awkward encounter with a random provider and talking to your own doctor — with whom you have a relationship and understands the context of your real-time health data. The latter is what we’re providing today.”
WHAT’S THE IMPACT
Along with facilitating appointment bookings and automating back-end administrative work, Heal’s app-based technology platform includes a health data integration device called Heal Hub (formerly Heal Wellbe) that collects data from various health monitoring devices and surfaces these health metrics to providers using the platform.
For Heal, the opportunity to combine these remote monitoring data with patients’ historical records (obtained through a recent Apple Health Kit integration) and the physician’s own observations from a prior visit offers a significant advantage over the virtual care services of its competitors.
“Heal continues to strengthen the patient-doctor relationship, proving that great technology can be used to bring them closer together, and not further apart,” Dr. Renee Dua, cofounder and chief medical officer at Heal, said in a statement. “The combination of house calls with Heal Telemedicine and Heal Hub is the ultimate care solution for patients with chronic conditions, especially elderly patients, who should always feel connected to their doctors. This furthers our mission to make care more proactive, so patients spend more time being well and less time getting well.”
WHAT’S THE TREND
Like it or not, Heal’s house call-driven approach to telehealth still has to go head to head with dozens of other vendors offering virtual visits directly to consumers. Among these is Tyto Care, whose device-driven approach to remote care recently became available for purchase through Best Buy stores and its online website; Teladoc, which announced increased consumer interest its app-based platform during a recent investor call; and the virtual primary care platforms of Doctor On Demand, 98point6, K Health and others.
Focus on Patient Experience
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