Can Health Care Adapt to a New Economy?

Samantha Beasley, Director, Public Policy, L.A. Area Chamber

September 23, 2016

Today, consumers expect what they want, when they want it. But where does this emerging on-demand economy leave health care? 

Consider the state of health care. The average wait time to see a primary care doctor is 18 days. The average emergency room wait time in Los Angeles is 3.5 hours. And yet 71 percent of emergency room visits are unnecessary.

Companies large and small are experiencing the pain points of this health care quandary through high costs derived from lost productivity for sick days, low participation in voluntary health measures and abuse/overuse of emergency rooms & Urgent Care services.

In Los Angeles, businesses are meeting this demand with creative approaches for consumers that involve progressive innovations to control costs and alternative resources for accessing health care services. Take one such approach offered by Heal, a startup based in Santa Monica.

Heal is built on an all-but-lost model (the house call), where patients can book an appointment online or through the Heal app with a board-certified physician who will arrive in two hours or less, 365 days a year, at the same cost as an office visit co-pay (or $99 for those without insurance). And because there are no waiting rooms or offices, Heal claims that the visits are more productive and enjoyable than traditional doctor appointments. Statistics show that the average Heal visit is nearly three times as long as the average doctor’s office visit.

Businesses both large and small are offering their employees services like Heal as their preferred in-network provider, in order to reduce health care costs and increase employee satisfaction. Corporate benefits teams are partnering with Heal to host Annual Physical Days and Flu Shot Drives for their employees, and local smaller businesses are leveraging Heal to keep employees at work and combat the $150 billion annually spent on employee absenteeism.

For one large self-insured entertainment client in Los Angeles, for instance, Heal’s medical team helped set up weekly on-site clinics for physicals and flu shots, which drove an 18 percent increase in preventative care. And with easier access to preventative care and exposure to Heal’s doctor house call service, more employees are turning to Heal, saving the company an estimated $3.2 million/yr in emergency room costs alone.

The Chamber is excited to see such innovative approaches as we continue to promote business-friendly policies that improve the health of the Los Angeles region, advocate for control over escalating health care costs, and support adequate access to health care services.

For more information on Heal, please visit getheal.com or email hello@getheal.com



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