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Need a doctor? You can bring one to your doorstep with this health care app
Need a doctor? There's an app for that.

Heal, which was profiled this week by The New York Times, is a smartphone app that delivers a house call from a doctor within 60 minutes of a request. Its website highlights the app's "smart, convenient and affordable" services, noting that each visit costs $99.

"Heal doctors arrive with a medical assistant and a kit stocked with the latest high-tech health gadgets, including tools needed to take your vitals or shoot high-definition video of your eardrum," The Times reported. "Heal has a roster of doctors who have affiliations with respected hospitals and programs."

The service is one of the newer offerings in a mobile health landscape that includes apps targeted at exercise advice, mental health counseling and diet planning. Fans of Heal emphasize its individualized approach in a complex health care system.

"Health really starts in the home," said Dr. Janani Krishnaswami, one of Heal's doctors, to The Times. "By seeing someone where they live, I can look at what their life is like; what they're eating; how they're living; what's stressing them out."

On-demand wellness apps prioritize personal attention in what is often an overwhelming system, and they fit the schedules of busy parents and stressed-out young adults. However, people must resist the urge to replace regular doctor visits entirely because la carte health care isn't designed to track long-term conditions or other, more serious illnesses, The Times reported.

"It is important to remember that these apps are not replacements for traditional doctor appointments, particularly with a physician who has known you for years," the article noted. "But for ailments and symptoms that aren't life-threatening, this next generation of health apps can save time and energy which is a pretty big deal when you are not feeling up to waiting in a doctor's office."

The apps also can be a fun and easy way to try out new wellness routines, like taking vitamin supplements or drinking vegetable and fruit juices, as Mashable reported in a recent list of health technologies. It highlighted a variety of offerings in the on-demand wellness industry, including Zeel, which allows users to request a masseuse, and Go2Nurse, which can summon home health care providers to address questions about pregnancy or rehabilitation after a stroke.

Currently, most of these services are available only in large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City, but Heal, for example, plans to expand beyond California to 15 more cities this year.

However, sick people in small towns can still take advantage of the wave of digital innovation in health care. Deseret News National reported last month that virtual doctor visits, in which patients video conference with health care professionals, are increasingly available.
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