It’s easy to call Heal, a California service that delivers a doctor to your doorstep in 2 hours or less, 365 days a year, an Uber for healthcare. But Cofounder and CEO Nick Desai thinks it can be much more.
“Healthcare in America is a fundamentally broken business. It’s a $3 trillion industry in which everyone is unhappy,” he says. Doctor shortages cause long wait times, which cause people to avoid the doctor, which land more of them in urgent care, which drives transactionally-oriented care and skyrocketing costs, he explains.
What to do about it? Desai thinks we need to give doctors more time to take care of fewer patients. And with a $26.9 million Series A investing round announced this week, Heal should be in a better position to build technology that can help make that happen.
Heal’s mission is to make a more efficient doctor’s office. Patients in select metro areas across California can use the app to schedule a housecall or request a doctor to arrive within 2 hours. A visit is $99, or the normal doctor co-pay fee for patients covered by several insurance companies. For doctors, software streamlines what were once costly office operations: checking insurance, calling in prescriptions, filing health records and billing patients.
Desai’s wife and cofounder, Dr. Renee Dua, saw the inefficiency of American healthcare first-hand while working as a doctor. Much like teachers, doctors go into their profession to do good, but an overburdened system makes it hard to spend enough time on each person.
Precision medicine, Desai explains, is made possible when doctors can see a more complete picture of the environmental and lifestyle factors that might play into health get to know their patients over time. The importance of a personal connection is one reason why Heal shies from the uber-for-doctors label. “We want to be your family doctor in your family room,” Desai says. He also sees this as a major differentiator between other telemedicine and housecall services. New York City-basedPager offers on-demand doctors when you’re sick, but doesn’t replace your primary care physician. North Carolina-based Doctors Making Housecalls focuses particularly on keeping frail and elderly patients.