Humana is placing a $100 million bet that the future of healthcare can be found in a 21st-century version of the old-fashioned house call.
The health insurance giant on Wednesday (July 29) announced that it will invest $100 million in Los Angeles-based Heal, which bills itself as having “pioneered 21st-century house call-based primary care.”
Offering a mix of in-person house calls by doctors and online telemedicine sessions, Heal claims to have made 200,000 home visits over the past five years, serving patients not just in California, but also in New York, New Jersey, Washington, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.”
Humana’s investment comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has upended the world of healthcare, with many people reluctant to visit the hospital or even go to the doctor’s office out of fear of becoming infected with COVID-19.
But the deal also leverages a preexisting healthcare trend toward a greater emphasis on home-based services, which can be much less expensive than hospital stays and possibly more effective as well, enabling doctors to see firsthand “key indicators like medication bottles, fall risks, allergens and food insecurity,” Humana and Heal noted in a joint press release on their new partnership.
“The partnership with Heal is part of Humana’s efforts to build a broader set of offerings across the spectrum of home-based care,” said Susan Diamond, Humana’s segment president of home business, who is joining Heal’s board of directors. “We continue to see high levels of customer satisfaction and improved health outcomes when care is delivered in the home.”
Overall, a telehealth visit can cost 10 percent to 20 percent less than a traditional visit to the doctor’s office, Conversa Health CEO Murray Brozinsky recently told PYMNTS.
But telehealth can also improve the quality of care, offering a way for physicians to keep in touch with patients and track their progress, Brozinsky noted.