Akos, a recently launched mobile-based telemedicine platform, has raised $1 million from a group of local physicians. Starting in Arizona, with plans to expand nationally by 2018, the company offers video and audio telemedicine visits via a mobile platform.
“In the current model for telehealth what they do is connect the consumer directly to the physician and these physicians could be anywhere in the country,” Akos cofounder Dr. Kishlay Anand told MobiHealthNews. “As long as they have a license, I could be calling from Arizona and you could be in New York. And once you are talking to the physician you’re already charged for your services.”
Akos employs local physicians and refers patients to that same network if their complaints are beyond the scope of a virtual visit.
“There’s a fraction of patients that are not appropriate for telehealth services and they need to be navigated to the right setting,” Anand said. “For traditional telehealth services that doesn’t happen. In our model when a client initiates a call it first goes to a care coordinator who does an initial triage to make sure we can take care of them and there’s no charge, that’s a free service. And we have created a local network of locations, including both urgent care and primary care, where we can triage them if they’re not the right candidate for us.”
The company charges $49 for a visit or offers a $15 per month subscription that decreases the price per visit to $30.
“When it comes to healthcare challenges being faced by our country, one of the biggest is the growing premiums,” Anand said. “They are significant increases and that makes it very hard for young families to afford healthcare and their concern is ‘Why do I take a high premium plan and pay a large amount when we don’t really need those services?’ So the idea is they can use their HSA to pay for these visits and go for a high-deductible plan.”
Akos is using the funding to expand marketing efforts for their service. While they are offering packages to employers, their primary focus is on direct-to-consumer. The company plans to expand to 10 US cities this year and roll out the platform nationally in 2018.