JumpstartMD turns to telehealth to reach new clients

From the mHealthNews archive
By Eric Wicklund
09:28 am

A California-based provider of weight loss and management programs is adopting a telehealth platform to reach consumers who can't make it to their offices.

JumpstartMD, a rapidly growing company with nine studios in the San Francisco area, has announced a deal with Ondello to enable consumers to connect with JumpstartMD healthcare staff through the Ondello platform, which enables live audio and video over a standard laptop and web browser.

"We wanted to add virtual consultations to our services – not as a replacement, but as an alternative – for the convenience of our patients," said Conrad Lai, JumpstartMD's co-founder, in a press release "With thousands of patients visiting our nine physical locations every month, we needed to find a way to complement the efficacy of our program with a virtual component. The Ondello service is flexible enough to be integrated into our existing systems, and we plan to work closely with their team as they continue to evolve the product for telehealth. It's an exciting addition to our service offerings."

Ondello uses en emerging Internet open standard – WebRTC – to power its online platform, which provides high-definition audio and video through a standard web browser without the need for a software download or application installation. WebRTC was launched through the HTML5/W3C standard following Google's acquisition of startups GIPS and On2 and is available under the general public license.

JumpstartMD officials say the technology will help them access the growing care-at-home business, which is growing nationally at an annual rate of roughly 22 percent. The company was launched in 2007 by Lai and Sean Bourke, two Stanford-trained physicians, and saw early growth through physician referals, many from cardiologists who wanted their patients to lose weight and change bad habits.

“We treat everyone from soccer moms to very busy business executives,” including a large collection of hedge fund managers, Bourke said in a 2011 interview with the San Francisco Business Times. He and Lai said that roughly 90 percent of weight loss comes through changes in eating behavior.

Ondello, also based in San Francisco, launched earlier this year and scored its first partnership in April with the Ornish Spectrum, a global wellness company.

“Enterprise adoption of WebRTC is only just beginning," said Mark Hadfield, Ondello's CEO and founder, in a press release announcing that deal. “The potential for real-time, in-context, browser based communications goes well beyond healthcare and wellness. The technology is disruptive and there will be few industries that are spared from this change."

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