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.
“On the internet,” says Ron Gutman, “every headache becomes a brain tumor in four clicks or less.” For Gutman and his colleagues in the world of health tech, this has become a running joke, a cheeky nod to just how far the human imagination can wander after a quick search of benign symptoms. But there’s more than a little truth to it. The fact is: the sheer abundance of health information online makes consulting Dr. Google an altogether flawed—and at times terrifying—first step toward getting better. So, in 2010, Gutman launched HealthTap, an online service that makes it just as easy to get answers to your health questions from a real, trusted doctor. The company started as a kind of beefed-up question-and-answer site, where users can get free responses to their medical queries from thousands of peer-reviewed doctors, and it grew exponentially, serving over 100 million people with some 1.9 billion doctor answers after just a few years. Now, Gutman is taking things one step further. On Wednesday, his company announced the launch of HealthTap Prime, a new service that gives subscribers unlimited access to live videoconferences with actual doctors for $99 a month, plus $10 for every additional family member.