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Home care start-up HomeHero returns to life with a new mission and new name: Harvey

  • HomeHero shut down but its founders have a new start-up: Harvey.
  • Harvey offers integrative medicine online for $150 an hour.
Kyle Hill and Mike Townsend, formerly of HomeHero, now starting Harvey
Kyle Hill and Mike Townsend, formerly of HomeHero, now starting Harvey

Health care is hard. Few founders understand that better than Kyle Hill, who folded his home care start-up HomeHero after raising more than $20 million in capital earlier this year.

Now, Hill is ready for his second attempt to crack the health market.

CNBC has learned that his team has been quietly working for the past six months on a virtual clinic for integrative medicine dubbed Harvey. And many of HomeHero's original investors and employees, including co-founder Mike Townsend and former MySpace CEO Michael Jones, are still on board.

The idea behind Harvey is that anyone with an internet connection can talk to a health provider for an hour for a fee of $150 per visit. Lab tests can be ordered from $29 to $299 and delivered to the patient's home for free.

The service isn't cheap, but Harvey's Los Angeles-based founders emphasized that patients can use their flexible or health savings account to lower costs.

The start-up is betting that people will be willing to pay, especially if they have struggled to get the treatment they need within the traditional health system.

Integrative medicine, which is sometimes referred to as "functional" or "holistic," is a trend that integrates traditional methods of care with things like yoga, allergy testing, microbiome testing, meditation, exercise programs and acupuncture. The idea is to treat the body and mind in a holistic way, rather than focusing on individual symptoms.

This type of care is particularly popular among those with chronic ailments, such as autoimmune diseases and diabetes, who are looking to improve their well-being and potentially even to find alternatives to medication.

Visits with integrative medicine doctors typically last longer than traditional primary care, which tend to be limited to 15 minutes.

It might sound like a new-age trend, but integrative medicine is starting to take off in traditional health systems. Independent practitioners offer it, as do giants like Sutter Health and the Cleveland Clinic.

A start-up called Parsley Health is also building clinics for this kind of medicine across the country.

Harvey's approach is to offer many of these services online for those who lack access to a nearby clinic.

That comes with some challenges because practitioners won't be able to physically examine the patient or offer services like acupuncture. But Harvey's lead naturopathic doctor, Amanda Frick, said she was surprised by how much she can still do for her patients online.

Frick said Harvey doesn't make diagnoses due to state-by-state regulations, but her doctors can nudge patients to see their family physician and provide them with lab results to bring along.

"I was a skeptic at first that this kind of medicine could be delivered virtually," she said. "Some pieces are missing but it's great for those who otherwise wouldn't have had an option at all."