Forget Ubering to a doctor's appointment. One startup promises to deliver a doctor to your doorstep in 60 minutes or less.
The price for the house call: a flat fee of $99.
Co-founded by Dr. Renee Dua and her husband Nick Desai, Heal launched its app-based service in January. For now, it's just available in the Los Angeles area, but they hope to expand throughout California in the coming weeks.
Dua, a nephrologist, worked in private practice for nine years before getting married and having a son.
"As a mom, I recognized the challenge families have to get themselves or the kids to the doctor," she said. "It means taking a few hours or a day off from work."
She was adamant to find a better solution.
"Why not offer on-demand doctors and not have it be insanely expensive?" she said.
All you have to do is download the app, input a few personal details and credit card info, and request a doctor, who's guaranteed to be there within an hour. On top of diagnosing basic illnesses like the cold and flu, Heal doctors will also write prescriptions for medication and lab work. And unlike traditional doctors, Heal sends a summary of the services within 24 hours.
Although it doesn't accept health insurance, Dua said in many cases patients are paying less than they would to visit a doctor who takes insurance.
"With insurance, you're dealing with co-pay, co-insurance, not to mention the cost of commuting to the doctor and sitting in a waiting room," she said. "You could be paying much more."
So far, 30 doctors, pediatricians and primary care physicians have signed on with the company. A few have joined Heal full time, but most work about 20 hours a week on top of other jobs (they're paid for their shift, regardless of the number of patients they see).
Dua said it already has thousands of subscribers and has done "dozens" of house calls -- all of which include a physician and an assistant who "checks vitals and acts as a scribe."
While not profitable yet, Heal has attracted the backing of some high-profile investors, including Qualcomm (Tech30) chairman Dr. Paul Jacobs and Lionel Richie, and raised $1.5 million from angel investors. ,
Heal is not the first startup to offer this service: PAGER was co-founded by a member of Uber's original team and sends doctors to your house in New York City; Doctor on Demand offers "video visits" between physicians and patients.
Dua is well aware of the competition but said Heal is different enough to stand out.
"We are totally unique, especially with our flat price point and the speed with which our doctors can take care of you," she said.
Dua and Desai eventually hope to roll out the service nationwide.
"There are two billion primary care visits to doctors every year," said Dua. "We want to change this paradigm."