Heal: Healthcare at Doorsteps

There’s a famed quote by Steve Jobs that helps us realize the connection between humanity and technology better. “One of the ways that people express appreciation for the rest of humanity is by putting something wonderful out there,” he had mentioned. One of the domains where this connection resonates more than anywhere else is healthcare—the field that exists not only to earn appreciation and connect to human lives, but actually save them. “More than the business and the financial gains, it’s this very fact of solving real world problems and saving people’s lives that motivates me to do what I do each day,” asserts Nick Desai, CEO of Heal. Found in 2014, the California-based company attempts to completely revolutionize the provision of healthcare and “make lives much easier and secure” through an effective combination of intuitive technologies and quality medi-services through proficient doctors. Heal provides “doctor house calls” accompanied with comprehensive primary, preventive, and emergency healthcare management services to people, right at their home at affordable costs.

The Foundation: Making Lives Easier

The numerous complexities and adversities presented to both doctors and patients in the current American healthcare system has been the root cause of Heal’s foundation. Few decades ago, healthcare was primarily dominated by home-based care services which allowed doctors to spend more time with patients and provide comprehensive care plans by correctly assessing a patient’s health history and lifestyle. However, the scenario changed as the presence of insurers and private bureaucracies in the sector started to increase rapidly. Faced with immense challenges such as complex billing, record systems, overhead infrastructure costs, and more, doctors adopted the “bureaucracy form” of providing medical services. Stationed at a separate office, primary care doctors now see a horde of patients each day that significantly minimizes the time spent with each patient, leading to deterioration of services and eventual escalation of healthcare costs for patients.

The effects of such a complicated healthcare system would directly impact Desai and his wife when their infant son fell very sick in the summer of 2014. The child’s grave condition demanded frequent outdoor appointments with a pediatrician and Desai and his physician wife, already busy with tight work schedules, struggled to effectively manage the situation. One day, to make matters worse, the pediatrician remained completely out of contact and they had to wait for hours before the infant could finally receive some care. On their way back home that day, the duo had the realization that “getting pizza these days is actually easier than getting healthcare” and the very system of providing healthcare desperately needed a makeover. Quite acquainted with the fact that medical records are digitally stored and bills are transmitted electronically, they immediately sensed an opportunity. In the same year, Desai—leveraging his engineering background—and his wife’s medical proficiency, founded Heal as the company’s CEO and CMO respectively to provide people with seamless, comprehensive, and timely access to quality home-based healthcare.

Heal was founded to provide people with seamless, comprehensive, and timely access to quality home-based healthcare and hence make their lives better

Their sole mission was to not only change the lives of common people or patients but also to significantly transform the lives of doctors and relieve both the healthcare provider and the consumer of the “bureaucratic complicacies.”

The Solution: To Connect and Save Lives

Heal delivers an intuitive platform that facilitates doctor house calls and home-based medical services for a consumer through any desktop, tablet, and mobile device. An individual can register with Heal’s mobile application by simply uploading a picture of his/her medical or health insurance card and can book a particular service or doctor any day between 8AM to 8PM at costs much lower than conventional appointments. Being integrated with multiple healthcare insurers in real-time, the application displays the exact charges that a person needs to pay upfront when the booking is accomplished. What’s further unique about Heal’s solution is that it costs exactly the same for patients registering doctors outdoors having insurance coverages and only 99 dollars for people without insurances. Within two hours from booking completion, the doctor arrives at the patient’s home accompanied by a certified medical assistant and an advanced medical kit. The doctors receives all the relevant patient information from the platform’s inbuilt EMR which further assists the doctor in asking more contextual questions to the patient, and hence deliver a quality, pro-active care service.

Heal’s business model has its own distinct advantages. It allows doctors to spend more time with patients and design a comprehensive care plan by minutely examining patients’ lifestyle. This enhances diagnostic accuracies by manifolds that ultimately results in much improved outcomes and hence reduction of unnecessary healthcare costs. “Increase of healthcare expenditure is a big issue today for common people and also the corporations which cover the healthcare costs for its employees. Our platform enables the doctor to deliver a much better and accurate service; the patient receives a higher quality care, and insurers and employers eventually have to pay lesser in the long run. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone,” states Desai. A testimony to this fact is a short summary of Heal’s progress till date. In a country where healthcare costs are 20 percent of the overall GDP—1.5 trillion dollars in hospitals and emergency care— the company’s platform has ensured aggregate healthcare savings of 21 million USD and has benefited over 35000 patients within a year.

The effectiveness of Heal’s novel technology and its approach of delivering healthcare right at the patient’s doorsteps can be better fathomed as one glances at some real world scenarios. In one instance, a person affected with a bad migraine-related headache, failed to get any proper medication as none of the doctor appointments had accurately revealed the reason of the same. Finally, the person resorted to the Heal platform. The visiting doctor, upon careful inspection of the patient’s home, observed that the bathroom had black mold—a fungus that can cause migraine. Having established the real cause of the patient’s problems, an effective treatment was provided easily to the person.
In another scenario, a child started encountering sudden chest pain one evening. Feeling that the agony could be caused due to gastric abnormalities, the mother booked for a Heal’s doctor as it wasn’t easy to obtain an outdoor doctor appointment at that hour. Upon performing a thorough check-up, the doctor realized that the child was actually about to have a heart attack and the situation could have been proved fatal had there been any additional time loss. Reflecting upon the value that Heal has been providing as evident from these instances, Desai says—“I really don’t know how to put a price tag on the fact that we actually solve real life challenges and save human lives on a daily basis. I have two young kids and can’t afford them much time; the only way I justify myself is that they will be proud to know that their parents are out there doing something really special.”

Internal Values: Delivering Something Special

The belief of “doing something special for humanity” permeates deep into Heal’s internal environment as well, motivating the company’s competent team of doctors, product engineers, and other professionals to continually deliver the best in unison. Desai explains that every employee in Heal completely comprehends the company’s mission, which has resulted in a work culture that is very serious, methodical, research-oriented, and data driven. This serious, mission-focused approach has earned Healits ground-breaking success and numerous accolades and investments from globally renowned corporations. Till date, Heal has raised a cumulative capital of 50 million USD from Fidelity, Breyer Capital, and also from Lionel Richie and Qualcomm’s Executive Chairman—Paul Jacobs.

More than the accolades and rewarding partnerships, it is Heal’s leadership that has always influenced the company’s progress based on “what’s next” to better fulfill what the company attempts to do for the society. The firm has recently launched the Heal Help Network that provides additional primary care services such as physical and mental therapy, cosmetic medication, and lactation consulting at a patient’s home. For instance, a patient suffering from back pain can instantly book a doctor and also a physical therapist on the same day—a process that conventionally takes weeks. The doctor and the physical therapist can consult together with the patient at his home, share feedbacks, and develop a highly efficient and personalized care plan for the patient.

"Our platform enables the doctor to deliver much better services; the patient receives quality care and insurers have to pay lesser, it’s a win-win situation for everyone"

Progressing with its motive to deliver better care, Heal is about to take its competency to a new level with a breakthrough innovation in the field of remote care monitoring. Partnering with chip-giant Qualcomm, the company has been perfecting a hardware device—Heal Cube,a personal healthcare network hub. The hub connects to all diagnostic devices in a person’s home such as blood pressure monitor, glucometer, and self-stores patient-related information aggregated from those devices. A patient can simply press a button and call for medical service and the information would be instantly available to the concerned doctor. “We are putting the power of data into the hands of the doctors and that is quite unique. Eventually, we would create a unified intelligent platform to integrate all healthcare services and relevant technologies; that’s our ultimate vision,” concludes Desai.