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House-Call Model Gains Ground with New App


Sutter Health | Aetna teams up with Heal to bring doctors to member’s doors seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Sutter Health | Aetna is teaming up with house-call provider Heal to bring “doctors to your door” seven days a week. This service includes scheduling doctors’ visits to a member’s home or office, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., through the Heal app, website, or a phone call.

Heal, which began seeing its first patients in 2015, employs 120 doctors and nurses nationwide.

“We are taking steps to modernize the delivery of healthcare by making it easier to access and more affordable,” said Steve Wigginton, Sutter Health | Aetna CEO, in a press release. “Heal’s ‘doctors to your door’ service will increase convenience for members by enabling them to receive primary, preventive, pediatric, and urgent care services from the convenience of their home or office. We want to deliver a differentiated member experience that leads to lower healthcare costs and better outcomes.”

With the joint venture between Sutter Health and Aetna, Heal services are integrated with the member’s care. Heal physicians can write prescriptions, order labs, and suggest in-network referrals for specialists and other healthcare services, like behavioral health or disease management. Collaboration between Heal doctors and the Sutter Health | Aetna provider network helps coordinate care and improve provider communications, safety, and quality.

Related: The Invisible Healthcare Patients

Sutter Health | Aetna members can schedule appointments every day, including weekends and holidays. Through Heal, board-certified doctors can arrive in as little as two hours in most locations. Employers offering their employees a Sutter Health | Aetna plan can also schedule on-site “Heal Days” to help keep their employees healthy and happy.

“We recognize getting to the doctor can be a challenge, especially after hours, and we’ve created Heal to revisit the healthcare model and give people the access to quality care they crave,” said Nick Desai, CEO and co-founder of Heal, in a press release. “Sutter Health | Aetna and Heal see eye to eye and are working together to transform the healthcare system and make care more convenient and affordable.”

Healthcare is going back to the future, according to Jay Wolfson, DrPH, JD, associate vice president for health law, policy, and safety at the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida.  "And it only took about 60 plus years, corporate healthcare, and what will certainly include virtual technologies and telemedicine to reinvent house calls," he says.

"While It may be most needed in the underserved, minority, and medically indigent populations, this will certainly be a selling point to employers and group purchasing arrangements," says Wolfson. "But it may wind up resulting in some additional premium cost, though over a few years going forward, it should result in cost reductions. Overall, this is a refreshing and welcomed repackaged product offering. But let us not forget that it would not be possible today without the reality of corporatized medicine-physicians being employees of integrated financial services and related healthcare corporations."

Access to Heal for Sutter Health | Aetna members begins on January 1, 2020.

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