Tech-enabled health plan Zoom+ launches telemedicine chat app

By Jonah Comstock
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App-enabled “full stack health plan” Zoom+, which offers telemedicine, walk-in clinics, and health insurance as an integrated, tech-enabled offering in the Portland, Oregon area, has launched a new feature, Zoom+Care Chat. The new feature allows Zoom+ users to get medical advice and even prescriptions via secure messaging and, ideally, will increase convenience for patients while also reducing the number of patients Zoom+ clinics need to see. 

“Zoom+ has led the way in radicalizing access to healthcare for a decade now,” Dr. Dave Sanders, CEO and cofounder of Zoom+ said in a statement. “As pioneers in the on-demand retail healthcare and performance health insurance space, we’re now trailblazing a new category of care with Zoom+Care Chat. We’re committed to making care faster, easier, and more affordable. We're breaking down the barriers so people can get care when and wherever they need it.”

Zoom+Care Chat will work on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Patients can have a five to seven minute conversation with a physician, neuropathic doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. Providers can diagnose and treat a number of common conditions over chat and can also make prescriptions, and will schedule visits at Zoom+Care neighborhood clinics if the condition is beyond their ability to address. The chat history is saved and becomes part of the patient’s medical record. 

The app will be usable anywhere in the world for members and people who have visited Zoom+ providers in the past three years. New users will have to be within an hour of an Oregon Zoom+Care clinic to get started. The service will start out free and will be open from 10 am to 9 pm Pacific time.

“We’re excited about Zoom+Care Chat,” Dr. Albert DiPiero, chief medical officer and cofounder of Zoom+, said in a statement. “Research shows that access to care equates to better health, and Zoom+Care Chat provides instant access to online diagnosis and treatment by trusted professionals wherever people are. It’s like having a doctor in the family.”

Sanders spoke this summer at the MobiHealthNews event in San Francisco, where he expounded on the company’s philosophy that integrating all the diverse aspects of the healthcare ecosystem into one technology-enabled interface is the way to solve problems plaguing America's healthcare system. That integration -- which facilitates a smooth shift from chat to in-person visit -- could give Zoom+’s new offering a leg up on existing SMS-based telehealth services like Sherpaa, which recently made the shift into D2C availability.