Finding the time to go to the doctor's office can be a struggle. From working a full day at the office to exercising regularly, making dinner, doing laundry, visiting friends and family as well as finding time for yourself, trips to see a physician can seem like a hassle.
Typically, most people try to schedule doctor visits either early in the morning or late in the afternoon so as to disrupt as little of home or work life as possible. In the event that neither of those time periods work well for people, appointments are either put off or scheduled at an inconvenient time slot.
One company that's looking to help alleviate the annoyances with scheduling doctor appointments is startup on-demand company Heal. We sat down with the company's CEO and cofounder, Nick Desai, to learn more about how Heal is revolutionizing the arena of doctor visits.
PYMNTS: What's the story behind how Heal started?
ND: Our inspiration for Heal came from a visit to the ER with our seven-month-old son. We waited for seven hours for a diagnosis of what turned out to be a non-issue. By the time we had a chance to see the doctor, he didn't have any of the symptoms we'd come in to have examined.
It was at this time that we thought there had to be a better way to create relationships between doctors and patients — and to get patients the care they need, without the wait, through the convenience of technology. I combined my background in technology with my wife, Dr. Renee Dua's medical expertise, and the concept for Heal was born. Our vision to bring health care into the home through the accessibility of on-demand technology promised access, but we also wanted to ensure affordability while adhering to best practices for great clinical medicine. Through strategic alignment of the benefits for all parties involved, we built a model that delivers high-quality, vetted doctors, directly to patients through their smartphone for any non-emergency medical visit, regular check-up, prescription evaluation or other basic clinical need — all at an affordable price. Insurance companies save money, doctors are happier and able to practice a better quality of medicine, and patients are healthier and able to see a good doctor, on their time, for a reasonable rate.
PYMNTS: In your own words, what is Heal about?
ND: Heal is transforming health care with unhurried house calls through qualified doctors doing what they love and purposeful innovations that enable you to spend less time getting well and more time actually being well. We are making health care a more personal experience that is affordable and accessible for everyone. Through the touch of an app or click on our site, a highly vetted, qualified medical doctor will arrive at your door, twelve hours a day, 365 days a year. Heal is in-network with all major PPO insurance companies. We hope to create a more efficient doctor's office, in the privacy of your own home or office, because we know that happy doctors deliver the best care and great patient-doctor relationships improve outcomes.
PYMNTS: How does the pricing model work, and how does Heal get paid?
ND: Heal receives a revenue share of each patient visit by a doctor. Each visit is an affordable $99 flat fee or the patient pays a co-pay through their insurance company. We try to keep it simple for all involved.
PYMNTS: Who does Heal see as its competition?
ND: There is no direct competitor to Heal right now in the marketplace, although there are some tangentially similar services in a few select markets. We are the premier, largest doctors-on-demand service currently operating in the United States and, per our announcement in February 2017, are beginning the process of a national rollout.
That being said, competition exists in every industry, and spreading awareness for doctor house calls as a solution for everyone — not only wealthy or elite patients — is critical to reducing health care costs and improving patient outcomes.
PYMNTS: Since its inception, how much has Heal grown year over year? Does it have any future projections for where it hopes to grow within the next few years?
ND: Heal has grown exponentially since its launch. At this time in 2016, we had seen 3,000 patients — as of today in 2017, we have seen more than 23,000 throughout California. We will soon be growing to other markets this year — to several cities in Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania.
PYMNTS: How many rounds of funding has Heal received?
ND: To date, Heal has raised more than $52 million in funding in our Series A and B rounds with high-profile investors such as Fidelity, Breyer Capital (Jim Breyer), David Ellison (son of Larry Ellison), Thomas Tull (Legendary Entertainment), Lionel Richie (world-famous entertainer), Paul Jacobs (executive chairman, Qualcomm) and Jeb Bush (U.S. politician).
PYMNTS: What does the term "Uber of X" mean to you, and how does Heal fit that mold?
ND: "Uber for health care" is an inaccurate description of the Heal service, as it doesn't speak to the way we create doctor-patient relationships focused on improved wellness through technology, accessibility and premier quality. The on-demand feature of our service only serves the need for health care access when we get sick — no one can plan in advance when they will catch the flu or injure themselves in the home. From that end, we deliver non-emergency, fast-response care through the means of on-demand technology.
Heal doctors do not work with us on a "gig" basis as on-demand drivers may do for ride share fleets. Our doctors work to serve the greater needs of patients in their practice regions and to bring the very best in quality health care to those who need it most.
There is a shortage of doctors in America, and in the current hospital model, 55 percent of typical doctor time is spent on bureaucracy and not spending time with patients. Heal is fixing this broken system with our intelligent app that handles paperwork, verification, billing and process for the physician with no additional staffing or infrastructure required.
PYMNTS: As most startups have their fair share of hiccups, can you share a few lessons-learned anecdotes?
ND: In building a company within the health care industry, we had no other choice than to set the highest of standards for ourselves. With health care, people's lives are at stake, and we need to be careful because of this.