Teladoc unveils new app that incorporates Best Doctors' features

By Jonah Comstock
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Today at Health 2.0, Teladoc rolled out the first tangible fruits of its acquisition of Best Doctors: a new mobile app for clients of both services.

"For over 20 million people today, Teladoc [delivers] healthcare that drives better convenience, better value, and better outcomes," Nita Stella, vice president of product strategy, said during a demo of the new app at the conference. "Now with our recent acquisition of Best Doctors, we have an opportunity to expand that mission to also enable access to the patients that have treatment questions, or seek a second opinion or other services to a network of over 50,000 providers that have been identified as the best in their field. Through this access, we’re excited to launch our new and improved Teladoc mobile application and website, which will be launched later this month.”

Daniel Trencher, SVP of Product and Strategy for Teladoc, told MobiHealthNews that Teladoc’s focus on acute care telemedicine and Best Doctor’s focus on medical second opinions is a powerful combination because of what’s referred to as the population health pyramid, a way of visualizing the cost distribution in healthcare.

“Teladoc has historically really targeted conditions at the bottom of that pyramid — higher volume, lower total dollars and in the acute space,” Trencher explained. “Best Doctors has attacked the top of the pyramid, so the most complex cases and costly cases that impact a smaller percentage of the population but really drive a lot of healthcare expense. And bringing the companies together really allows us to target the middle as well.”

Best Doctors and Teladoc had a number of enterprise customers in common even before the acquisition, and some customers of just one service will likely adopt the other as the two companies continue as a merged entity. This app will be rolled out to the members of some of those joint customers.

When a customer logs onto the app, they’ll be given two options (with a third to be added shortly after launch). The first, “Request a visit”, will take the user to an experience very much like Teladoc’s existing telemedicine app, which can guide them to either a phone or video visit for acute care, beahvioral health, or dermatology.

But the other two options are new and utilize one of Best Doctors’ primary assets: It’s vetted list of medical specialists around the world. On launch, the app will have a “seek a second opinion” option. The user will fill out a short survey in the app. Then, either immediately or at a scheduled time in the next 48 hours, a nurse will call them and do a more detailed intake. Then Best Doctors will set up a consultation with the appropriate specialist.

The final option, which will roll out as an update a little later, uses Best Doctors’ database to help the user find a high quality specialist near them for a first opinion.

These features are major parts of what Best Doctors has been doing all along, but notably Best Doctors has never before had a mobile app. Teladoc will also be launching a Best Doctors app for enterprise customers that use Best Doctors but not Teladoc.

The Teladoc app has one other neat feature. Using Geofencing, the app can tell when a user enters an urgent care center and send them a push notification reminding them that telemedicine is another — possibly cheaper — option.

Having Teladoc and Best Doctors’ existing services in one app is a meaningful step in the companies’ merger, but still an early one. Ultimately, Teladoc will look for more synergies to integrate the two business models, with the goal of covering that whole spectrum of care.

“The vision is to have services that can help meet the needs of patients throughout the course of their lives and for different types of patients across the spectrum,” Trencher said.