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Growing telemedicine service allows employers to give their workers 24/7 access to physicians
(Vator will be holding its second annual Splash Health event at the Kaiser Center in Oakland on February 23rd. Speakers will include Ryan Howard, Founder of Practice Fusion; Ali Diab, CEO of Collective Health; Helmy Eltoukhy, Founder & CEO of Guardant Health; and Rick Altinger, CEO of Glooko. Get your tickets here!)
First Stop Health, a provider of 24/7 telemedicine services, announced this week that it has secured a $2.1 million seed round of funding led by existing investors, including angel investors and company co-founders Patrick Spain and Dr. Mark Friedman. Also contributing were new investors, including technology entrepreneurs and an unnamed European investment group.
The company has raised a total of $5.6 million to date.
Telemedicine, as you might be able to deduce, is the use of telecommunications to offer health care. A definition this broad obviously encompasses a wide swath of services, from telephone or video conferencing with doctors to digital records management to payments systems.
First Stop Health primarily addresses the first kind described, allowing patients to contact a doctor at any time of day or night, either for remote service, to fill a prescription, or to recommend whether the patient should go to the emergency room.
The main selling point for First Stop Health is cost-savings for employers, the company’s clientele. For example, the company claims a "1,000-employee company can expect to save nearly $100,000 per year in healthcare claims" thanks to reduced in-person visits to regular physicians, urgent care, and emergency rooms.
Growth has been strong for the company, which says it already used some of its new funding last year to develop its network of physicians and triple sales.
“As patients are being asked to bear an ever increasing burden of the cost of healthcare, a high utilization telemedicine plan can limit the financial impact for both the patient and the employer and be a wonderful patient experience at the same time," said First Stop Health CEO Patrick Spain in a press release for the announcement.
The company has had to address skepticism around how much people actually use telemedicine services, likely because offerings to date have not been efficient or effective. For its part, First Stop Health says its engagement metrics at least quadruple the industry standard. If the service is responsive and strong, those metrics are likely correct; in turn, that would help justify the cost-savings for employers.
A natural outgrowth of telecommunication developments in the last century, telemedicine companies have been around for awhile now. Other companies in this space include CareClix (SaaS solution for patients and doctors), SnapMD (for secure file sharing between patients and clinics), Doctor on Demand (offering video visits with doctors), and many more.
This year, First Stop Health says it will use its seed capital to continue expanding the physician network, growing sales and marketing, and expanding its technology offerings.
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