The global telemedical market, which encompasses tech that facilitates remote medical diagnosis and treatment, is expected to climb from its current $38.3 billion valuation to $130.5 billion by 2025. That might sound optimistic, but consider this: As of 2018, there were already seven million telehealth users worldwide (up from an estimated 350,000 in 2013), and according to a recent survey by Becker Hospital Review, over 75% of Americans say they’re willing to attend a doctor’s appointment remotely.
The sector’s strength is no doubt one reason why CirrusMD, which describes itself as a “chat-first” virtual care provider, caught investors’ attention. The company today revealed that it’s raised $15 million in a series B funding round led by Drive Capital, with participation from Colorado Impact Fund and others, bringing its total venture capital raised to $26 million. It also announced a new contract with Iron Bow, an IT government solutions provider, with which it’ll collaborate to provide more than 200,000 patients across three of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs medical centers access to its tools and the VA’s new Health Chat app.
The financing round and partnership come after a banner year for CirrusMD, which experienced a 141% increase in Q1 appointments year-over-year and the expansion of its Medicaid market share (via a partner) into three new pilot programs in three states.
“Real-time communication between a doctor and patient not only improves outcomes but is expected in healthcare today. This latest round of funding enables us to bring seamless, chat-based virtual care to more people,” said CirrusMD CEO Andrew Altorfer, who was previously a senior analyst at Citi. “CirrusMD is leading the market in delivering instant, secure texting with board-certified physicians across all 50 states. We’re turning the antiquated, brick-and-mortar approach to care on its head. By optimizing member engagement and providing care where and when it’s needed, we can reduce out of control healthcare costs and deliver better patient care.”
Denver, Colorado-based CirrusMD was founded in 2012 by Altorfer, Elliot Sands, and emergency physician Dr. Blake McKinney. Its platform — which is available in all 50 states — gives patients access to a board-certified physician in less than a minute in-app or on the web, via a dedicated chat window. Members don’t pay upfront, and unlike telemedical competitors such as 98point6, which staff full-time clinicians and doctors, CirrusMD teams up with payers and integrated delivery networks who pay doctors an hourly wage.
CirrusMD’s app integrates with electronic medical records systems in a way that’s compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the U.S. law designed to protect personal health information and data, and it supports voice chat, video, and photos in addition to text messaging. The company claims that more than 84% of health problems are resolved in virtual appointments and that less than 2% of patients are guided to an emergency room (ER) follow-up, and it says that its contracted physicians have reduced 40% of avoidable ER visits to date.
CirrusMD is far from alone in the telemedicine space. Heal, Pager, Kry, HealthTap, RubiconMD, SnapMD, Mfine, Pager, K Health, and Doctor on Demand are just a few of the dozens vying for attention. But its decentralized business model and impressive client list, which includes four of the eight largest health insurers in the country, help it stand out from the crowd.
“Today’s healthcare landscape is not only inefficient; it’s impersonal. CirrusMD is fixing that by changing the way people interact and communicate with healthcare providers,” said Drive Capital partner Molly McCartin. “CirrusMD enables real change against traditional models of care.”