Alpha Medical closes $24M Series B round to expand women’s telehealth – without the video calls – TechCrunch

Alpha Medical, a telemedicine firm targeted on women’s healthcare, closed a $24 million Series B round on Tuesday. It’s one other firm located squarely in the crosshairs of a pandemic-fueled boom in telemedicine investment, although Alpha Medical’s strategy has one notable distinction: you gained’t be logging on to any Zoom calls. 

Alpha Medical was based in 2017. Since then, the firm has created a community of 30 staffed main care suppliers (PCPs in business shorthand), who deal with feminine sufferers online, with out cellphone or video calls. For $120 yearly payment (not lined by insurance coverage) you may make an account, provide your medical historical past and affected person consumption types, and are assigned a PCP who you’ll talk by way of an online platform. 

This kind of telehealth is typically referred to as “store and forward” – affected person well being information might be seen by a doctor on an online platform, fairly than throughout a real-time go to. 

“We give you a primary care physician who is fluent [in women’s health],” Lau tells TechCrunch. “We do all of this online, asynchronously.”

There are exceptions to this; you is perhaps referred to a lab for testing, or to one other main care supplier if a situation can’t be managed online. “But when you look at the grand scheme of things we think about 80% of stuff can be done online. The remaining 20% or so needs to be in person,” Lau says. 

Startups specializing in women’s well being are beginning to appeal to extra consideration and funding. Tia, one other women’s telehealth firm with a brick-and-mortar clinic element simply closed a $100 million sequence B round. Maven Clinic, a female-founded firm specializing in women’s and household well being, closed a $110 Series D round in August, and achieved unicorn status

Alpha’s new funding might not be a mega-round, nevertheless it suits inside the pattern. It brings the firm’s whole funding to $35 million, counting a Series A round that gleaned about $11 million. It contains participation from SpringRock Ventures, Margo Georgiadis, Outcomes Collective Growth Capital, FMZ Ventures, Samsung Next, Chamaeleon, AV8 Ventures, and GSR Ventures.

The earlier round of funding helped the firm speed up its protection: the firm grew from providing companies in about 10 states to 46, together with D.C., Lau estimates. It additionally helped the firm up the variety of circumstances its suppliers can handle, from about three to 60.

This new round will permit the firm to practice and find suppliers who can handle much more circumstances (the most up-to-date addition was polycystic ovarian syndrome). It may even permit the firm to expand from direct to shopper companies to B2B companies. 

“We’ve started talking to health plans and employers to bridge the gap,” says Lau. “We’re in lots of conversations with health plans, we have some very small employer contracts that are inbound – actually that’s how we started thinking about it in the first place.” 

Lau is one in every of Alpha Medical’s two co-founders, and her experience is primarily in the knowledge world. She’s a consulting faculty member at Stanford Engineering and a former Vice President of Data at Timeful, which was acquired by Google in 2015. The scientific experience informing Alpha medical comes from Lau’s chief medical director Mary Jacobson, an obstetrician and gynecologist.

Alpha Medical is hoping to fill a rising hole in main care service. And there’s proof {that a} lack of main care is a urgent drawback. The Health Resources and Services Administration has designated about 3,434 medically underserved areas – that means these areas are experiencing a scarcity of main care suppliers. A complete of 14 million individuals stay in these medically underserved areas. 

The existence of those “primary care deserts” has lengthy been a promoting level for DTC telehealth corporations. Companies like Ro, now valued at $5 billion  simply boasted of reaching sufferers in 98 p.c of such deserts, by its personal calculations. 

The Alpha Medical person can also be a lady who lives someplace and not using a plethora of PCPs. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Alpha’s goal demographic additionally contains individuals with excessive deductible well being plans, or individuals with no insurance coverage in any respect, says Lau. 

Even amongst individuals with insurance coverage in locations with main care out there, there’s some proof that main care visits are declining. A 2021 examine printed in The Annals of Internal Medicine analyzed 142 million main care visits amongst individuals who had insurance coverage between 2008 and 2016. The examine discovered that main care visits had declined 24.2 p.c, whereas go to charges to specialists remained steady. The decline was best amongst younger adults. 

The examine outlined a number of components driving the decline. Higher prices (the common out of pocket value rose from $29 to $39 over that point interval), excessive deductibles, lack of entry to care, and the truth that individuals is perhaps visiting pressing care clinics or specialists as a substitute. 

Alpha Medical’s companies aren’t at the moment lined by insurance coverage – however Lau presents that the $120 per 12 months value for all visits is sufficiently inexpensive to entice individuals who already pay for top deductible well being plans or those that are uninsured. There’s additionally an a la carte function of the service, the place a go to prices wherever from $15-$30.

The common earnings for an Alpha medical person, Lau says about $40,000 per 12 months. That’s somewhat aligned with the median earnings for ladies working full time, per the 2020 census: about $47,300 per 12 months. 

“The reason why we can be so affordable is because it’s asynchronous,” says Lau. “You’re not paying for the time while the doctor is waiting for you to think about your symptoms or your family history. We only notify the clinician when all the information is collected in the system, [and] integrated in the EMR [electronic medical record].” 

The thought of asynchronous healthcare would possibly really feel a bit unusual at first look. One of the greatest benefits of getting a main care physician is having a private relationship with a healthcare supplier. 

But if there was ever a time to fuse telehealth and women’s healthcare, now is perhaps the time. 

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