March 26, 2020in Virtual Care

HealthTap’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing healthcare systems worldwide beyond their limits. Whatever doubts existed about whether digital healthcare could play a meaningful role in making care more accessible, efficient, and affordable for more people are now a thing of the past. For most of us working in this space, we’ve always known that technology would transform the way people get care sooner rather than later. But I, for one, never imagined a moment like this — when HealthTap and companies like it would provide a service urgently needed by millions of people immediately and all at once.

New urgency in a time of need

Of course, us tech folk pride ourselves on thriving under pressure with seemingly impossible deadlines. But over the past few weeks, the intensity and tone has been altogether different, because in the back of our minds we’re thinking of over-crowded hospitals and people sharing ventilators, and telling stir-crazy kids not to climb trees because we really don’t want to go to the hospital with a broken bone. Nearly overnight, virtual healthcare has gone from a convenient alternative to in-person care, or even a cool app that you show your friends, to a life-or-death necessity to get through a crisis the likes of which the U.S. has not experienced in modern history. We at HealthTap, as well as many of our colleagues in the industry, are stepping up.

Virtual health care for all. Right now.

Today, HealthTap announced that we’re offering one free virtual doctor visit to anyone in the U.S. who is worried about symptoms that could be COVID-19/coronavirus. HealthTap’s board-certified doctors are available 24/7 by text, phone, or video. You might wonder how a startup can do this. The answer is the generosity of doctors. Hundreds have already volunteered their time to give free virtual visits, and more are joining every day.

We also opened our corporate pricing to individuals. This means that anyone can get unlimited virtual doctor visits for just $119 per year—as many visits as you need, for COVID-19 or any primary care concern, for about as much as a Netflix subscription.

A pressure-release valve

While nefarious social media posts and other misleading content are causing people’s stress to escalate, someone just described HealthTap as a “pressure release valve” on demand and risks weighing on our heroic doctors and clinical staff. Using our Q&A library and A.I-symptom assessment tool, HealthTap members get trusted information and guidance, often without needing to speak one-on-one with a doctor — virtually or in person.

If you’re worried, stay home, but don’t go down the rabbit hole of searching the internet at large. Talk to a doctor, and get the answers and treatment you need.

What else is new?

The bulk of our recent focus has been on getting people live access to doctors for as little money as possible. But HealthTap has always stood out because of its other tools that help people get the personalized information and guidance they need. We’ve been working on those too.

  • Hundreds of new questions and answers related to coronavirus/COVID-19, with answers from our network of 90,000 doctors, including top Infectious Disease specialists. Hundreds more are published daily as questions pour in from people worldwide.
  • Our A.I.-powered symptom checker has been newly trained to differentiate symptoms between COVID-19, influenza, common cold, pneumonia and other conditions — triaging you to a virtual visit when needed.
  • Daily training for our doctors on the latest clinical guidelines on how to prevent, treat, and manage COVID-19 — young or old, healthy or sick.
  • Five new Care Guides updated daily with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other trusted medical organizations.

Looking ahead

The regulations, clinical guidelines, and local testing options are evolving daily, and HealthTap is on top of it, updating information, training doctors, and looking for ways to expand to more people. For example, as soon as testing centers and kits become available to U.S. consumers, we plan to incorporate access to tests or testing facilities through our doctors and/or the product itself.

We’re receiving tremendous interest from companies, government agencies, and nonprofits that would like to work with HealthTap. If you’re involved with an organization that would benefit from working with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We will do our best to help.

How to reach us

Individuals: Get doctor-provided information or talk to a doctor. Sign up now

U.S. doctors: Join our network of 90,000 U.S. doctors providing trusted answers and virtual visits during this time of need. Apply now

Companies and organizations: Email us at [email protected]

Members of the media: Email us at [email protected]

Sean Mehra

Sean Mehra

Sean Mehra is HealthTap’s co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, dedicated to enabling simple, affordable access to quality healthcare for all.