Health

HealthTap launches virtual doctor visits on your phone

Image Credit: HealthTap

Lots of companies in the digital health space are carving out single pain points in the care delivery system and leveraging technology to make them work better. HealthTap, on the other hand, is taking a look at the entire patient experience and offering support, guidance, and information the whole way, from wellness to sickness and back again.

HealthTap founder and CEO Ron Gutman told VentureBeat that he believes consumers aren’t much interested in talking about things like population health, wellness, and biometrics. What they are concerned about is “feeling better.” Gutman says his company took a whole year to rethink the HealthTap service and came out the other side with that belief. Then, he and his team completely redesigned HealthTap based on that insight.

We’re seeing some of the fruits of that rethink in the company’s announcement today, with new features like virtual, mobile doctor visits and integration with pharmacy systems to process prescriptions.

Starting in 2011, Palo Alto, Calif.-based HealthTap built an app that offers its members what looks like a social network for health. Members can ask questions and get answers from participating doctors, view wellness lists, and get reminders. The company’s new Prime service turns the service into more of a full-fledged mobile health concierge service, and you can expect the company to continue adding more perks and services in the future.

The HealthTap platform acts as a structured personal medical record for its members. It acts as a “health graph,” picking up and storing members’ personal health issues, preferences, and experiences.

Gutman says HealthTap already serves up data and information from more than 62,000 U.S. doctors and 100 million members. It says its knowledge base of doctor-created answers now has 1.8 million entries.

HealthTap doctors also curate health news and review relevant mobile apps for members. After a virtual doctor visit on a phone or tablet, the doctor can send aftercare instructions and reminders via HealthTap.

“Imagine a world where people everywhere have instant ubiquitous access to the best doctors, who genuinely care about them and want them to feel good every day,” Gutman says in the announcement today.

“Just like that night when my sister woke up to her son crying with high fever and didn’t know what to do; or a few years ago in my travels around the world, when friends and I needed medical attention, but were far from reliable professional help; or recently when a team member was concerned about a rash he discovered while at work and didn’t know whether it was serious or not,” Gutman says. “We could have all greatly benefited from having immediate access to trusted doctors, which could have saved time, money, and potentially a life!”

Because Gutman and company are providing a platform on which medical advice is clearly being dispensed, privacy and consumer safety come into play. Gutman told VentureBeat that the first thing his company did was to hire a lawyer to make sure that HealthTap was HIPAA and FDA compliant in every step of development.

The HealthTap app is available for iOS and Android. The apps are free, and the basic information — like lists and canned doctor advice — in HealthTap is free, too. To access things like personalized doctor advice and virtual doctor visits, the cost is $99 per person per month and an extra $10 per month for each additional family member.

HealthTap raised $24 million in funding in May 2013 from Khosla Ventures. The company has now taken a total of $38.3 million in venture funding.

More information:

HealthTap is an Interactive Health Network dedicated to improving everyone’s health and well-being. We do this by providing free online and mobile answers from thousands of leading physicians to your health questions, and by personal... read more »

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