Using tech to create a solution for a common problem.
By Dr. Renee Dua (Founder & Chief Medical Officer, Heal App)
My journey to entrepreneurship began following an unpleasant trip to the emergency room. I spent nearly eight hours waiting to see a doctor with one of my children for a non-threatening illness.
I had been practicing medicine for over a decade, but had never had to wait in the ER. Our broken healthcare system became abundantly clear to me during that first-hand experience. While waiting, I began to think of my own medical practice and inefficiencies often associated with the traditional doctor office visit.
It became clear to me that there was an enormous need for on-demand medical care. This marked the genesis of my startup, Heal.
Too Much Wasted Time
Long wait periods extend past the ER; they are unfortunately far too common across general practitioners and other offices. On average, patients wait nearly 20 minutes to see their doctor – while only spending an average of 10 minutes with their doctor during an exam. Combine that with the amount of time it takes to commute to the doctor’s office, a trip to the doctor often consumes a large amount of the day. With jobs, families, and other responsibilities, many cannot afford to spend so much time waiting.
We live in an increasingly on-demand society, so something as important as seeing a doctor should be a seamless part of our daily lives and accessible to everyone — wherever and whenever. Inspired by my experiences as a doctor with a private practice, the challenges so many face when trying to carve out time to visit their doctor, my husband and I created an on-demand service for doctor house calls. Our app allows users to schedule a doctor visit at their home or office on-demand, even on nights and weekends.
Targeting Frustrations of Patients and Doctors
During the early days of our development, it was mandatory for our team to analyze both sides of the doctor and patient experience to build the most helpful tool possible.
We knew that doctors are increasingly frustrated by the system that has them churn through patients and navigate insurance companies, which takes them away from patient care — the area of medicine that first prompted them to become doctors.
Patients are frustrated by the limited availability for appointments, waiting to see the doctor, feeling rushed by the exam and dealing with confusing insurance claims.
Infusing Tech and a Medical Practice
At first glance, it may seem as though launching a tech startup is vastly different from starting a medical practice; however, for me the process was equally as intuitive. I didn’t create an app with the purpose of entering the tech space; I created a tool that enables people to receive quality medical care with ease and to fix the inefficiencies found across our current healthcare system.
We want to not only create access to convenient and quality healthcare, but also transform the doctor-patient experience to be more personalized and more effective. As Heal grows, we hope that long waits in the ER and inconvenient trips to the doctor’s office will ultimately become a thing of the past.
About the guest blogger: Heal co-founder and mother of two Dr. Renee Dua is board certified in nephrology, hypertension and internal medicine and served as Chief of Medicine at Valley Presbyterian and Simi Valley Hospitals. She completed her BS in Biochemistry at UC San Diego, her MD at Chicago Medical School/Rosalind Franklin University, her residency at UCLA and her fellowship in nephrology at USC. Follow her on Twitter at @DrReneeDua.