K Health, a free symptom checking app with optional paid telehealth features, announced this morning a $48 million Series C round led by 14W and Mangrove Capital. Anthem, Lerer Hippeau, Primary Ventures and other unnamed backers also contributed.
WHAT THEY DO
Using a dataset comprised of physician notes, lab results, treatments, prescriptions, prior visits and other anonymized interactions, K Health’s artificial intelligence questions users about their health issue and then shares how similar cases have been diagnosed and treated in the past.
Previously, K Health’s app also included a connection to care component that would link New York-area users with local brick-and-mortar primary care providers. But now the company has stepped away from that strategy in favor of providing its own low-cost telehealth services, which take the form of pivoted to a low-cost telehealth services. These take the form of text-based conversations with a live doctor ($19 per session, or unlimited conversations for $39),
“We realized we could resolve most [cases] in a matter of minutes from the comfort of your sofa,” Allon Bloch, CEO and cofounder of K Health, told MobiHealthNews. “About 10% of the time, roughly, … people need to be seen in person because it's an ER or trauma-type situation, or because a doctor isn’t comfortable diagnosing and treating remotely. But 90% of the time, if the doctor [has] your medical history and specific medical information, they can resolve the situation remotely.
“Our goal is not to replace urgent care or office hours. Our goal is to create a primary care structure that works for you, at a completely different cost structure, whether you’re insured or not.”
Although the bulk of K Health’s work has been focused on acute conditions, the company is opening up its doors to treatment for certain chronic conditions — for instance, a $29-per-month subscription for assessment, treatment and regular check in for anxiety and depression.
All in all, Bloch said the company has physicians active across 47 US states, and has counted more than 2.5 million users within the past 10 months. Additionally, the company signed a partnership with Anthem last summer that Bloch characterized as a major driver of the company’s momentum.
WHAT IT’S FOR
K Health has two primary goals for its new funding, Bloch said. The first is to expand its product into new markets, both domestic and international.
“US, of course, has a lot of population, and at least for some of the market healthcare is broken, too expensive, or cumbersome,” he said. “And also we’re going to be entering, with our information layer and services layer, countries that have a way worse health system because, you know, huge populations and not enough physicians. We’re planning to do that, [although] we’re not quite ready to announce, and some of that we’ll be doing on our own and some with partners.”
The second and more pressing work is on further refining the tool, he continued.
“This is a decade-long project, not a two-year work. Stuff we’re interested in is genetics — how do we incorporate genetics into primary care not as a gimmick, but as a real part of primary care — and creating better prevention models that are data driven. That’s the stuff that we spend most of our waking hours focusing on,” he said.
Alongside K Health in the primary care app space is 98point6, a Seattle-based startup that raised $50 million in late 2018 for its own texting-based service. But the hybrid app-and-physical model seems to have some momentum as well, whether it’s Carbon Health or the recently IPO’d One Medical.