HealthTap, an online medical question-and-answer service that boasts 10 million active users and a pool of over 60,000 doctors from across the US, yesterday unveiled an updated version of its product. Dubbed Prime, the new service, which is available through the company’s mobile apps and website, lets you text or video conference with a doctor, whatever the hour.
The value proposition here is that the service saves you making an appointment with a doctor and traveling to their office for a meeting, which may take 1-2 hours depending upon various factors. With Prime, however, you can get access to a doctor within a few minutes.
While the Palo Alto, California-based company's question-and-answer service is free, Prime comes at a cost, requiring you to shell out $99 a month, plus $10 for every additional family member. There is no limit on how many times you can contact a doctor with the service.
While companies like Better, Doctor on Demand, American Well, and more, already provide telemedicine services (24/7 access to a personal health assistant, nurse line, automated symptom checker, and more) at much lower rates ($40 - $50), Prime goes beyond these sorts of services.
According to HealthTap's Chief Executive Ron Gutman, the company's latest offering will provide ongoing support after the consultation through customized checklists, personalized health news, and various reminders and notifications.
“We’re not just in the business of scheduling appointments or finding information, we’re in the business of making people feel good”, he said.
At this point, it's difficult to predict whether people will pay $99 a month for a virtual health service, which is in addition to their regular insurance payments. Meanwhile, market research firm IHS predicts the telemedicine industry will grow to $1.9 billion in 2018 from $240 million last year.