The Scoop: Heal is a groundbreaking app that gives patients access to a house call from a qualified doctor 365 days a year. Dr. Renee Dua co-founded Heal to make the healthcare system more manageable for singles, couples, and families facing time-sensitive (or just plain sensitive) medical issues. Heal’s on-demand doctor network is currently active in California and Northern Virginia with plans to grow in other major cities in the coming year.
Dr. Renee Dua decided to create Heal, an app that facilitates doctor house calls, about seven hours after she was forced to take her infant son to the emergency room to get him the medical treatment he required.
“I’m a doctor, but even I couldn’t get the help I needed in that situation,” she said. “A lot of patients feel the same frustration when they have an urgent question or health concern.”
As Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder of Heal, Renee aims to take the frustration out of the healthcare system by bringing highly trained and knowledgeable doctors to you. Users can request a private house call on the app and then consult with a doctor who specializes in pediatrics, family medicine, or internal medicine.
Heal is currently up and running in Renee’s home state of California, and it’s making inroads in Northern Virginia. Renee said she intends to build on the app’s services, grow the team of medical professionals, and expand into more U.S. cities in the next few years.
To date, Heal has facilitated over 100,000 house calls and provided instrumental medical treatment to people of all ages. This technology could revolutionize the way doctors and patients interact and create a safe space where they can discuss sensitive health issues such as sexually transmitted diseases.
“People can sometimes feel intimidated and embarrassed by the healthcare system,” Renee said. “This company works to solve that by giving you privacy, education, and a real doctor.”
Educating & Building a Rapport With Patients
The Heal system streamlines a patient’s journey to getting proper treatment. The app makes it easy to access a doctor’s advice, so you don’t have to wonder if you’re sick or hope your symptoms go away.
You can go on the app and schedule a same-day doctor’s appointment at your house. Or you can choose a day that works for you. Heal’s doctors are available from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week. Patients without insurance pay a flat $99 fee for each visit, but Renee said 85% of patients use insurance to cover their costs.
On the day of your appointment, the doctor comes prepared with everything he or she needs to conduct a basic physical for the patient. The kit includes a strep test and pregnancy test. The doctor can also draw blood if need be.
After a thorough exam, the patient has the option to book a follow-up session. The doctor will also call within the week with results from any tests taken during the house call.
The one-on-one nature of this visit ensures that the doctor and the patient can discuss health matters in total privacy. It’s a non-threatening way to approach medical treatment, and thousands of patients have benefited from this system by getting the answers they need when they need them.
The average house call runs about 31 minutes long, which is a big step up from the brief encounters most patients have with a doctor at a clinic or hospital. Dr. Renee said it’s important to her that her team of doctors take their time to talk to patients and answer all their questions — especially the questions they’re afraid to ask.
“It takes time. It takes a discussion, and that will never be accomplished in a five-minute visit,” she said. “Our doctors aren’t rushed, so they can provide excellent medical care.”
A Safe Environment to Ask Sensitive Questions About Sex
Some health issues are simply too personal for patients to feel comfortable talking about openly. People can feel shame about contracting an STD, for instance, and avoid addressing its cringe-worthy symptoms. Sometimes patients put off a visit to the doctor’s office because they’d rather endure private pain than public humiliation, and that’s not good for their overall health and happiness.
Fortunately, Heal has fostered a safe and private space where patients can request one-on-one house calls and receive treatment in their own homes. The private setting makes patients feel more at ease discussing their personal health and dealing with delicate matters.
Heal’s doctors can test for STDs, conduct mammograms, deliver flu shots, prescribe birth control, and deliver top-notch care in the patient’s living room. They offer a combination of preventative care, primary care, and urgent care.
Renee has made many house calls and seen firsthand how the visit can lead to an honest and thoughtful dialogue about the patient’s health.
She said she has counseled patients in the aftermath of a one-night stand, and she has comforted patients going through tough times. Sometimes the conversation can be emotional, but it can lead to greater understanding and healing in the end.
Whether you’re in need of birth control medicine or a flu shot, Heal’s doctors can assist you and get you access to treatments without waiting in long lines or in germ-infested waiting rooms. The beauty of the house call is that the doctor is on your turf, so to speak, and can meet you wherever you are on your health journey.
“It’s all about making you feel comfortable so you get the help you need,” Renee said. “If you’re not sure what’s wrong, it helps to have someone there to walk you through how you’re feeling and how you can recover.”
The App Expands What It Means to Be a Modern Doctor
Heal partners with medical practices to employ full-time and part-time doctors and medical assistants in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and other major cities. All these doctors employed are board certified and undergo extensive training to ensure they have the skills to make efficient and helpful house calls.
The clinical leadership team hand-picks applicants who are passionate about Heal’s mission to give patients greater access to quality medical advice and treatment. The Heal team is currently accepting applications for positions on its operations, technology, training, and medical team.
Many patients praise Heal’s passionate team and say the friendliness of the physicians made the experience more enjoyable. Heal currently has 4.8 out of 5 stars on iTunes thanks to hundreds of positive reviews.
“Everyone should know how incredibly amazing this app/service is,” wrote ChemKitty in her review. “The doctor arrived with one assistant, examined me thoroughly, and was so kind and knowledgeable. Overall, it was just an incredible experience.”
“I had no idea how seamless and easy it would be,” wrote Kristen R. on Twitter. “Easily one of the best medical experiences I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a ton!”
Renee is proud to have been the cause of so many wonderful success stories. “We’re taking this old-fashioned idea of making a house call and giving it a modern twist,” Renee said. “We make it convenient to get in touch with a doctor, so you don’t have to make a big effort to get this big thing done.”
Heal: An Indispensable Tool for Today’s Singles & Couples
We use apps for so many things these days. We order food. We watch movies. We crush candies. Smartphone technology can make life’s daily tasks more convenient and enjoyable, and one doctor saw an opportunity in the app space to improve the U.S. healthcare system.
Dr. Renee Dua has experience as both a patient and a doctor in the E.R., and she understands how lack of access to a primary care physician or pediatric specialist can lead patients to feel the emergency room is their only option. She launched Heal to help people book doctor’s appointments on demand and receive treatment from the comfort of their own homes.
“Heal delivers on the promise to educate patients and to be there when you don’t know what you need,” Renee said. “When you have time to educate your patients, I think it makes a profound impact on their choices regarding their health.”