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How Physician Home Care Lowers ER Visits and Healthcare Costs

“Ultimately lowering healthcare costs is directly tied to better health outcomes. In fact, just in reduced ER trips, Heal saves the Health system $1.24MM for every 1,000 patients seen.”

By Vera Gruessner

- A common healthcare service provided to many patients with chronic medical conditions is the typical checkup from a visiting home nurse. One medical company called Heal is giving patients a step up from the nurse visit. Heal provides physician home care in which doctors will come to see patients at their residence with just one simple phone call.

Physician Home Visit

The latest news from the physician home care company illustrates that it is now part of the Anthem Blue Cross of California’s network. This has improved patients’ access to the physician home visit across Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

To learn more about the work between this physician home care provider and Anthem Blue Cross of California, interviewed Dr. Renee Dua, board certified kidney specialist and co-founder of Heal. How is Heal working with Anthem Blue Cross of California to improve patient care and contain healthcare costs?

Dr. Renee Dua: “By being in-network with Anthem and Blue Shield, Heal is making a high quality, caring, unhurried house call as cost-effective as the time-consuming chore of going to a doctor’s office.”

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“That is transformative for primary care because patients can now be seen on their schedule in the privacy of their own home,” Dr. Dua explained the benefits of physician home care. “Doctors can see the environmental, home and contextual factors in forming a treatment plan and can be a true partner in that patient and the family’s health.”  

“Additionally, patients will use primary care earlier rather than waiting for problems to get worse. In doing so, patients will avoid unnecessary trips to the ER, which cost the healthcare system billions of dollars each year. And, patients will improve health outcomes through prevention and early detection, rather than costly treatment of chronic disease.”

“Ultimately lowering healthcare costs is directly tied to better health outcomes,” Dua mentioned. “In fact, just in reduced ER trips, Heal saves the Health system $1.24MM for every 1,000 patients seen.” What are the biggest benefits of Heal partnering with Anthem Blue Cross of California? Has healthcare access improved for their beneficiaries?

Dr. Renee Dua: “Being in-network with CA’s largest PPO providers – Anthem, Blue Shield and others – means members can get high quality primary care with the touch of a button. When and where they need it. For no additional out of pocket cost.”

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“That convenience makes it more likely patients will participate in voluntary preventative health measures, get early screenings and lead healthier lives. In practical terms, we make it as easy to get a doctor to your house as it is to use any on-demand service. We operate 12 hours/day, 7 days/week.”

“Partnering with Anthem and others makes us the ultimate no-brainer,” she stated. “Why would you ever spend a half day going to a doctor’s office when they can just come to your house?” How is mobile technology decreasing medical costs and offering more flexibility for consumers?

Dr. Renee Dua: “Mobile makes everything easier. From knowing your location and always being with you, today’s mobile devices are more than phones, they are personal health portals.”

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“Today, Heal gives any consumer 3-touch access to a great doctor house call. Soon, we’ll add telehealth, EMR [electronic medical record], records viewing, content and other capabilities. In partnership with companies like AliveCor and CellScope, we are also making diagnosis and detection easier and more accurate both for patients monitoring themselves and for doctors in the patients’ home,” Dua proclaimed. What have been some of the challenges associated with expanding doctor house calls/visits across more cities?

Dr. Renee Dua: “The key challenge has been meeting demand in new markets.  When we launch each city/region, we either have to over-hire doctors, which is costly for us, or we have too much demand, which is good, but doesn’t serve patients optimally.”

“Finding that balance to match supply and demand is key.  Also, in places like Los Angeles, you are dealing with a vast region rather than a single city.  It really is about launching in many parts of LA at once and always sending the right doctor to the right patient.”

“These are the challenges we live to solve.  What has been thoroughly overwhelming is how positively Heal has been received in every market we have launched in to-date,” Dr. Dua concluded.


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