Heal, a startup that uses doctors to make house calls, has announced that Paul Jacobs, former CEO of Qualcomm, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have joined the company’s board of directors.
Jacobs will serve as chairman and work with CEO Nick Desai and his cofounder and wife, Renee Dua, who is chief medical officer. Heal has enabled doctors to make more than 100,000 house calls since 2015.
“Technology is the catalyst that eliminates stifling bureaucracy and enables timelier, more personal, more proactive care that lowers costs and improves outcomes,” said Dua, in a statement. “Dr. Jacobs has led the global mobile revolution over the last two decades, and we’re thrilled to have him lead our efforts to reboot the broken $4 trillion U.S. healthcare industry.”
Jacobs left mobile chip giant Qualcomm in March 2018, when he resigned as executive chair amid an abortive hostile takeover of Qualcomm that was launched by Broadcom. Later in 2018, Jacobs, who has more than 80 patents and patent applications, left to start mobile tech company XCOM.
Jacobs sparked the idea for Heal Wellbe — a first-ever remote monitoring platform connecting Heal Doctors to real-time vital signs of chronic disease patients.
“I met Nick a long time ago while I was at Qualcomm,” Jacobs said in an interview. “Healthcare is very close to my heart. We were very focused on personalized medicine there. Heal uses some technology here. At Qualcomm, I got a chance to change the world through communications. Here, we’re going to change the world through healthcare the healthcare system.”
Making medical technology more mobile has been a long-term project, and Jacobs believes “now is the time” to make it happen because “no one likes going to the hospital and you get better healthcare this way.”
Bush — who led Florida from 1999 to 2007 — is an advocate for improving health care access and affordability through innovation and government reform. Governor Bush pushed for Medicaid reform in Florida, and he has advised Fortune 500 companies on a range of health care policy issues.
“Heal liberates doctors from offices and patients from the trappings of a broken and bureaucratic system,” said Bush, in a statement. “Innovative entrepreneurs like Nick [Desai] and Renee [Dua] are transforming America’s healthcare system by harnessing technology to improve access to first-rate doctors, and I’m excited to partner with them.”
Heal said it has driven $62 million in healthcare costs savings while proactively diagnosing over 16,000 previously unknown chronic disease in the aforementioned 100,000 house calls. Earlier Heal announced a first-of-its-kind capitated primary care program with Aetna to help chronic disease patients receive better care.
Desai said in an interview that only since January 1, 2019, has Medicare allowed doctors to see patients via house calls, thanks in part to communication with Heal. So Desai believes that the company will be able to ramp up and make more than 250,000 house calls now.
Through the touch of an app or a click on its website, Heal enables patients to book on-demand or scheduled doctor house calls, 12 hours per day (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.), seven days a week, 365 days a year. Desai said doctors like it because it reduces paperwork and red tape, and allows them to see fewer patients for a longer time, and still have plenty of personal time. The costs are lower in part because you don’t have to pay for all the infrastructure of a doctor’s office or hospital.
“We have not been allowed to make house calls to Medicare patients until now,” Desai said. “There are 65 million people on Medicare and they account for two-thirds of all doctors visits in America.”
Heal has over 100 major corporate clients and is covered as an in-network benefit with Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, CareFirst, Cigna, Health Net, Medicare, and United Healthcare. Heal house calls are available across California, Atlanta, Georgia, and Northern Virginia/D.C.
The company has raised over $69 million in funding from notable investors, including Jacobs, Bush, Breyer Capital, IRA Capital, Trans-Pacific Technology Fund, Lionel Richie, and more.
Yesterday, Heal also announced it has joined Aetna’s network of providers in the metro Atlanta area, including Gwinnett, Forsyth, Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb, and Clayton counties. Aetna Commercial members can schedule house calls with pediatricians, internists, and family practice physicians for the same co-pay as a primary care doctor’s office visit. Heal is also providing care in California and Washington, D.C.
As for health tech for seniors, Jacobs said, “The FDA and Medicare are faced with rising costs with an aging population and hospital costs that are rising. The most important way to reduce costs is to keep people in the homes. If you can deliver hospital-grade care without the hospital costs, that works.”