Houston’s 2nd.MD Digitizes Second Opinions to Empower Patients
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also offer physician consulting services, but are focusing primarily on non-emergency care such as allergies, pink eye, or bronchitis. The most comparable to 2nd.MD, Shapland says, is Best Doctors in Boston, which launched in 1989 and says its has 30 million customers worldwide. Earlier this month, the privately held firm, which also targets employers as customers, announced revenues reached $180 million in 2013.
Though 2nd.MD is not that large—Shapland declined to disclose revenues—it’s growing its customer base, even attracting patients as far away as Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia.
The biggest obstacle to growth, Shapland says, is technology. Medical records are still very much mired in the paper world. “Once you get to an electronic world, it will be easier to get the relevant medical history,” Shapland says. “We’re faxing medical records. An 81-page fax of medical records? Getting images is even harder.”
A former chiropractor, Phillips in 2005 founded the Aspen Back and Body clinic in Aspen, which he sold to Laser Spine Institute four years later. To kick off 2nd.MD, he raised $4 million in angel funding, much of which came from his former patients at the clinic. Phillips says he expects the company to be profitable this year and that he is considering a Series A round to help fund an expansion.
In his daughter’s case, Phillips says a service like 2nd.MD could have provided more information on the possible use of Botox to help with her hand. (It turned out that, in the long run, the therapy would have no lasting therapeutic impact.)
“The doctor could say, ‘That’s a waste of time,’ ” he says. “They could narrow down the massive amount of information in a short period of time.”
In a founder’s story video posted on the company’s website, Phillips finds it incredible that advances in communication and technology have not been fully leveraged when it comes to medical care: “It seems crazy that I can buy a stock online in Tokyo; I can shop for a rare book in a foreign language, and yet I can’t find a doctor to speak to online.”
As for Gabi, she’s now 4 and Phillips is glad to report that she’s “walking and talking and going to regular school.”