As healthcare continues to become prohibitively expensive, telehealth services and other alternative online health solutions are on the rise. Teladoc and HealthTap are two that come to mind right off the bat. Now, another telehealth service, MDLIVE, has raised $23.6 million from Heritage Group, Sutter Health and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors. Previous investors include Sentara Healthcare and John Sculley, former CEO for Apple and Pepsi Cola.
Founded in 2006, MDLIVE boasts a network of 2300 board certified physicians specializing in emergency medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. Users can also consult therapists for mental health care. Over three million corporate and consumer members are using the site, which sort of (SORT OF) acts something like an insurance plan. Users can buy single, couple, or family packages ranging in price from $15 to $25 a month, and from there, members pay $20 for a consult with a physician or $75 to speak with a mental health therapist.
MDLIVE’s health practitioners can do pretty much anything an in-person doctor can do. They can write prescriptions for non-controlled substances and order lab tests. MDLIVE CEO Randy Parker says that most users come to the site for non-emergency issues, like cold and flu, ear infections, sinusitis, rashes, urinary tract infections, and so on.
Some of these telehealth services, however, have raised the question of patient health history. How can a patient receive the best care if they’re calling up a telehealth site for a one-time consultation with a doctor that doesn’t know them? What if the patient’s symptoms are actually indicative of a larger chronic illness?
Randy Parker tells me that MDLIVE collects medical intake and health history just like a brick-and-mortar clinic, and that patients can access and append information to their records as they see fit. They can also share information with their primary care provider.
The company plans to use the new capital to further build out its platform in the cloud and invest in its Second Opinion program.
“MDLIVE in partnership with leading health systems will offer second opinion services for patients who have received a first opinion from the PCP and would like confirmation that the diagnosis or treatment plan that is recommended is the best option,” said Parker. “Obtaining a second opinion is not only necessary, it is essential and MDLIVE will provide unprecedented access to a broad network of specialists nationwide. It decreases medical errors, saves lives, and keeps healthcare costs down by preventing unnecessary surgeries and procedures.”