This month’s series introduces you to a startup that’s creating patient- and quality-driven healthcare systems across the country. But we’re not just profiling the group that’s forging the cutting edge of healthtech; we’re also presenting the nature of the healthtech revolution that’s promising to re-centralize your needs as a patient and consumer. Yes, that’s right, a cohort of brilliant software engineers and humanists are working hard to make it easier for you and me to access topnotch healthcare quickly and easily! Tired of waiting many months to see your primary care physician? Read on. One Medical Group is eradicating many of your healthcare woes.
Name: One Medical Group
What it Does: Leveraging the best of the digital age, One Medical Group has innovated a new primary medicine delivery model by putting the patient back in patient care. They’re working to develop critical infrastructure that provides affordable, quality care for everyone. To breathe life into this Holy Grail of Holy Grails, they’re using customer-centric design, clever applications of technology, and a team of world-class primary care providers that are equipped with the time and tools to make the best decisions for their patients.
Funding: $116.5M to date
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
How It Got Started: One Medical Group Founder & CEO Tom Lee has been preoccupied with the question of “how to make a broken system more efficient” ever since he enrolled in medical school to become a family practice physician. By the time he graduated, he was discouraged by the profession’s focus on quantity over quality. Instead of starting a practice as he’d previously intended, he pursued an MBA at Stanford and, in 2005, he launched One Medical Group in San Francisco. His guiding intention was to make “concierge medicine” – typified by same-day appointments, responsive doctors, and a holistic approach to medicine – affordable for all. “We started One Medical to build a better primary care delivery model – one that uses technology to deliver higher-quality care and service more affordably,” says Tom Lee MD. Indeed, technology is baked into every corner of the One Medical pie from online appointment-scheduling to technology savvy doctors that are more than happy to communicate via email to mobile application prototypes that track blood nutrient levels. Lee insists that technology is the key to deepening connections between patients and doctors and, further, that respect-driven relationships between patients and doctors is the key to better health outcomes. “Healthcare isn’t about the transaction, it’s about the relationship. You can’t know a patient by looking at a page full of numbers and having a three-minute visit.”
How It Works: One Medical Group aspires to set a nationwide standard with its new model for primary care. With 27 locations nationwide and offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., One Medical Group offers many of the same services provided by customized “concierge” medical practices but at a much more affordable rate of $150-200 a year. One Medical Group doctors see no more than 16 patients a day; the nationwide average for primary-care physicians is 25-30. They invite their patients to email them regularly (at no additional cost) in order to fine-tune new treatment regimens. Same-day appointments are routine and unlike most concierge practices, One Medical accepts a variety of insurance plans, including Medicare. “In the office, we respect your time by meeting with you on schedule so you know you’ll be back to work on time. We also believe in building more personalized relationships with our patients, so we offer longer visits, which means you have more high-quality time with your doctor. And after your visit, our online services make it simple to contact your doctor and even renew prescriptions without coming in for a follow-up visit – saving you both time and money.”
The Competition: At the cutting edge of healthtech, One Medical Group enjoys the company of a couple other startups that are lowering costs, bridging the distance between doctor and patient, and fueling their offices with monthly/yearly fees. A ‘direct primary care’ provider founded in 2006, Qliance Medical Management, Inc. provides its members with unrestricted access to all types of primary, preventive and chronic illness care for one monthly membership fee ranging between $49 and $89. Qliance patients save between 20 and 50 percent on comprehensive health care costs when bundled with lower-premium insurance plans. Like One Medical, WhiteGlove Health is striving to provide a new nationwide model of healthcare by lowering costs and focusing on patients’ needs. Based in Austin, Texas and with a humble $12.9M in funding, WhiteGlove offers its members access to affordable, high-quality primary and chronic care at home or work 365 days a year, 8am to 8pm.
The Revolution: In a 2011 TED talk, Bill Gates blamed the nation’s broken healthcare system for devastating education budgets and pitting the interests of the young and the old. Healthcare hyperinflation, he said, is a real phenomenon in this country. According to Techcrunch.com, we are nearing a future in which $1 out of every $5 in the U.S. economy is spent on healthcare despite the fact that the U.S. ranks 31st in the world in terms of healthcare outcomes. Insurance-centric primary care, not patient-centric care, is the norm burdening old and young alike and crippling the national budget. Fortunately, tech savants and passionate healthcare providers are working day-in and day-out to restore healthcare to its humanist origins. By equipping compassion-driven healthcare practitioners with the latest technologies and an environment that incentivizes quality over quantity, these healthtech norm breakers are making insurance-driven practices a relic of the past.
The Future: In 2013, One Medical launched seven new offices, increased its member base by over 50 percent, and won the Crunchie Award for Best Health Startup. The company also deployed a new telehealth service via Google Helpouts. Over 40 companies are currently enrolled in its employee benefit program, including Adobe, Doximity, Fitbit, NBCUniversal, On Deck Capital, Percolate, Quantcase, Sequoia Benefits, Uber and Wanelo. At this time, One Medical is working hard to bring its services to new cities and to further develop its back-end software, which involves developing key mobile applications that will make connecting to your doctor easier than ever. The future looks bright for One Medical and for all those who could use better healthcare and more savings.