HealthTap snatches $11.5M for mobile health advances

Mayfield, Mohr Davidow fund an online network for consumers, physicans to share information

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
December 6, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2259

The demand for health care applications has resulted in the creation of vibrant online communities and mobile health innovations.

HealthTap, a interactive health network online, secured $11.5 million in Series A funding Tuesday, led by the Mayfield Fund, Mohr Davidow Ventures and Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors.

The latest round brings the young Palo Alto startup to $14 million.

HealthTap was founded by Ron Gutman, founder of the health information portal Wellsphere.

What is HealthTap?

HealthTap is a networked environment where anyone can pose health question online or via a mobile app and quickly receive credible responses from a community of more than 6,000 U.S. physicians across 100 specialties, for free.  The new mobile application launched just two months ago and applications are available on Android, iPhone and iPad.

Specifically, the iPad market has grown exponentially for physicans and hundreds of medical reference and illustration tools have been adopted nationally by medical schools, hospitals and physcian practices to reduce the heft and clutter of encyclopedias of medical information, drug interactions and physiology diagrams.

All physicians who are members of HealthTap undergo rigorous background checks verifying their medical licenses and that they remain in good medical standing. This process helps the credibility of content on the site, especially since so much medical advice is offered on the Web without that verification.

On the physicians' side of the platform, each medical professional receives a free 'Virtual Practice' where they can lead the online health conversations or create health literature to share with the community. Physicians then can answer user questions, endorse answers posted by other physicians and create networks to grow their own practice.

The mobile health space

There are similar online health applications in the space including the physician-only networking site Doximity, and other health networks like WebMD and Patients Like Me. HealthTap told VatorNews that its has found strength in creating a place where those with medical concerns can connect directly with physicians together -- rather than catering to either physicians or patients. Also the community has the capabilities of working between users in real time so that certian issues or announcements can be addresses live.

“HealthTap has become the only place online where medical information is trusted both by physicians and by patients alike,” Ron Gutman, HealthTap’s founder and CEO told Vator. “We’re seeking nothing less than to transform the industry by building leading products that will revolutionize the way people access and use health information and interact with physicians in the process of care.”

The mobile health market is forecasted to exceed $400 million in the next handful of years but often has its challenges since any medically-accepted communities must adhere to the strict HIPAA regulations.

HealthTap stated that it will use this round of funding to "accelerate growth, recruit top talent, and engage more physicians and patients in the vibrant online HealthTap community."

The company also is looking at the next year as an opportunity to push innovation in health care.

Previous angel investors in HealthTap include Esther Dyson, Stanford professor and former CEO of Veritas Software Mark Leslie and Aaron Patzer, founder and former CEO of Mint.com.

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