Vitals.com nabs $22M to prepare for influx of healthcare shoppers

By Jonah Comstock
Share

vitals.comIn the face of a surge of interest in physician ratings and curation from high-profile health startups like HealthTap and Doximity, long-time physician rating platform Vitals.com has raised $22 million in third round funding to improve its consumer offerings.

The round was led by new investor Piper Jaffray Merchant Banking. Existing investors Cardinal Partners, Health Enterprise Partners, Milestone Ventures Partners and Greycroft also contributed. In addition, some undisclosed strategic partners contributed. They will likely be announced in the next two months.

Vitals.com CEO Mitch Rothschild told MobiHealthNews the impetus for the funding doesn't have anything to do with the recent movement in the space.

"We've committed millions and millions of dollars and a couple dozen people nonstop to building this up. Other than us and a company called HealthGrades, there's really no one else," he said. "Doximity is a Facebook for doctors, they're not going to have that depth of data. And HealthTap actually bought a dying database from a company called Avvo, which we looked at, and we said 'eh.'"

Rather, Rothschild said, Vitals.com is gearing up for an increased need for tools to help consumers find doctors that will be spurred by provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In January, the company estimates that 30 million new people will enter the paying healthcare system, some of whom will need to choose a physician for the first time in their life.

Vitals.com also builds patient interfaces for health plans and providers, another service the company believes will be in demand with the advent of the Affordable Care Act.

The company has been expanding their offerings -- they recently added ratings for dentists -- and will use this funding to continue doing so. The next major launch will be a ratings platform for urgent care centers. In addition, the currently web-based platform will be going mobile, after a fashion. The company plans to convert its website to HTML5 to make it more compatible with mobile viewing.

"We have an app [and] we find it gets downloads, but not a lot of utilization," Rothschild said. "About 25 percent of our traffic comes from mobile at this point, including the iPad. We have an older audience, just by the nature of who needs doctors."

Vitals.com was named the third fastest-growing health company in the country by Inc. Magazine last year. It acquired competitor ucomparehealthcare.com and appointment booking startup HealthLeap in 2011. Aetna's iTriage app also licenses content from Vitals.com.