The doctor will see you now...in your living room

The rush is on to build emergency field hospitals across the country in anticipation of coronavirus patients onslaught. CNN's Brian Todd reports how hospitals are using creative ingenuity in the face of dire shortages.

Posted: Apr 1, 2020 6:31 PM
Updated: Apr 1, 2020 6:31 PM

Doctors used to make house calls as a normal part of their practice. That's starting to become more common again.

Many Americans are being asked to shelter in place because of the coronavirus outbreak. That's why several health care tech companies have been touting services that allow patients to see doctors at their homes if they're not feeling well but don't have Covid-19 symptoms.

One high-profile home doctor company is called Heal -- founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Nick Desai and his wife Dr. Renee Dua, a nephrologist (kidney specialist) who is also Heal's chief medical officer.

CNN Business spoke to Desai about the growth potential for the company and the unique challenges posed by the fact that patients and doctors need to be extra careful given how contagious the coronavirus is.

Desai said if a patient thinks they may have Covid-19, Heal will first set up a telemedicine visit and only send a doctor to a person's home after ruling out coronavirus.

Heal has a team of more than 150 doctors in seven states and Washington, DC. The physicians and other medical professionals work for Heal -- not hospitals or private practices. The goal is to expand even further, Desai said.

And once a doctor does make a house call, they wear masks, gloves and other full body protective gear. A medical assistant also joins the doctor to administer vaccines and other shots and take blood and urine samples as needed.

Making doctor visits as easy as ordering food online

The goal is to prevent people from getting more sick by being exposed to a doctor's waiting room or ER.

"If we think you have Covid-19 and if the symptoms are mild, then the care plan is to stay home. We want to keep people out of the hospital," Desai said.

He added that it is also important to not overlook the many Americans who still need routine health care for chronic conditions -- or who just happen to get sick from a cold, flu or other common ailment.

And it isn't always helpful for a sick person to go to their doctor, urgent care or an emergency room when they aren't feeling well -- especially now that hospitals are already under immense pressure.

In fact, Desai said he and his wife decided to start Heal five years ago after their infant son had a fever. Their pediatrician told them to go to the ER...and after the baby was finally seen by a doctor following a seven hour wait, the fever was gone.

"We thought that there has to be a better way," Desai said. "We wanted to make ordering a doctor as easy as ordering a pizza by using an app or a website."

Desai added that with Heal, regular patients can also request specific doctors so they don't have to see someone different whenever there is a problem.

Home and virtual medical visits part of a growing trend

There is a lot of competition from rivals. Pager, MedZed, Dose Healthcare and DispatchHealth are some of the more prominent home doctor services. Heal also has to contend with the likes of Teladoc, a virtual doctor service whose stock has soared this year.

But Heal is backed by $100 million in venture capital funding.

The company also has an eclectic mix of investors -- including former Qualcomm Chairman Paul Jacobs, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and singer Lionel Richie.

Heal accepts Medicare and health insurance from all the major corporate plan providers (i.e. companies like UnitedHealth, CVS-owned Aetna and Anthem) and charges an upfront price for each visit. A standard house call visit is $159 while a telehealth appointment is $79.

Desai said the goal for his company is to let patients rest easy and not worry about leaving their home when they are not feeling well...and feeling worse once they get a bill or explanation of benefits statement.

"If a patient is sick, it's odd that they have to pick if they should go to their doctor or not or maybe the ER. The doctor should come to them and make the decisions. And there should be price transparency," Desai said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49063

Reported Deaths: 2732
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11760689
Lake5276246
Elkhart340255
Allen2835133
St. Joseph200169
Cass16429
Hamilton1608101
Hendricks1425100
Johnson1296118
Porter76738
Tippecanoe7359
Clark66844
Madison66764
Bartholomew59145
Vanderburgh5876
LaPorte58326
Howard58058
Kosciusko5624
Marshall5016
Noble48528
LaGrange4779
Jackson4733
Boone45443
Delaware45252
Hancock45236
Shelby43125
Floyd38444
Morgan32731
Monroe30928
Montgomery29720
Grant29626
Clinton2902
Dubois2886
Henry28216
White26610
Decatur25432
Lawrence24825
Dearborn23823
Vigo2388
Warrick22729
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1862
Jennings17712
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14817
Wayne1436
Orange13623
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1247
Jasper1232
Wabash1142
Carroll1102
Fayette1037
Newton9910
Gibson982
Whitley975
Starke943
Randolph804
Huntington782
Jefferson762
Wells751
Fulton721
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Owen501
Adams491
Benton480
Posey450
Sullivan451
Spencer441
Brown421
Blackford392
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio180
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60181

Reported Deaths: 2991
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10879439
Cuyahoga8277383
Hamilton6287206
Lucas2836303
Marion273639
Summit2241207
Pickaway220541
Montgomery220131
Mahoning1861239
Butler167447
Columbiana130960
Stark1156113
Lorain106468
Trumbull99774
Warren89525
Clark7809
Delaware61715
Fairfield60517
Tuscarawas58510
Belmont55522
Medina54332
Lake52920
Licking52012
Miami47531
Portage46159
Wood45251
Ashtabula43744
Clermont4317
Geauga41443
Wayne36552
Richland3515
Allen32841
Mercer2909
Greene2879
Darke25326
Erie25022
Holmes2453
Huron2282
Madison2029
Ottawa16024
Washington14020
Sandusky13814
Crawford1365
Putnam13215
Ross1323
Coshocton1302
Hardin12312
Morrow1181
Auglaize1074
Jefferson922
Union921
Monroe8917
Muskingum891
Hancock831
Preble801
Athens791
Hocking798
Guernsey763
Lawrence740
Williams722
Shelby704
Clinton680
Logan651
Fulton630
Ashland621
Carroll603
Wyandot605
Brown591
Scioto540
Defiance533
Knox531
Fayette480
Highland461
Champaign441
Van Wert420
Perry371
Seneca352
Henry320
Jackson260
Paulding260
Adams241
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia201
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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