HealthTap Launches National Virtual Visit Platform

5-8-2013 8-58-22 PM

HealthTap announces that it will expand its current consumer health website to include the option to connect with a physician for virtual consultations.  HealthTap is a Palo Alto-based digital health startup operating a Q&A website that connects anonymous patients who post medical questions on a public forum with board-certified physicians willing to provide answers. The new service will cost $44 per visit, and will complement the site’s existing health information infrastructure.

Since its 2010 launch, HealthTap has focused on building a platform that disrupts traditional symptom checker websites like WebMD, by delivering the opinion of a board certified physician at no cost to the patient. The company did an excellent job building a reliable and useful outlet of health information for consumers. A doctor was guaranteed to respond to every question within 24 hours, but often, responses would come in much sooner, and in many cases, multiple doctors would collaboratively speculate on what might be causing the patient’s symptoms.

Now, HealthTap has a loyal user base and a growing network of physicians. The company made it this far largely on VC cash, taking in $38 million over five investment rounds since 2010, with the latest bringing in $24 million in May 2013. Now, the pieces are in place to begin expanding its monetization strategy and, like many others, HealthTap has its eyes set on telehealth.

In anticipation of more progressive regulatory stances on reimbursing telehealth visits, VC’s are throwing money at the sub-sector of digital health, with Doctors On Demand raising a $21 million Series A this August, and Teladoc raising a $50 million Series C this September. HealthTap already has a well rounded consumer health platform that should dovetail nicely into its new telehealth strategy due to its 64,000 active physician users. However, the company plans to go much further than offering sessions with just its own active physician users. Instead, HealthTap is marketing telehealth visits that will connect patients with “your doctor,” or a doctor from one of 105 specialties. To deliver the promise of virtual visits with your own doctor, the company is rolling out a Virtual Practice service that will help physicians establish a web presence and connect with their own patients. If a doctor is not represented on HealthTap’s Virtual Practice platform, users can send an email through the platform asking that they consider joining the program. HealthTap claims that its new service will be able to support users across all 50 states and will facilitate referral services so that patient’s can get virtual visit-based specialty care when needed.

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