HealthTap Lets You Ask The Doctor - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Government // Mobile & Wireless
02:17 PM
Connect Directly

HealthTap Lets You Ask The Doctor

HealthTap allows patients to ask medical questions to a network of more than 50,000 doctors worldwide.

 7 Portals Powering Patient Engagement
7 Portals Powering Patient Engagement
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Imagine giving patients access to thousands of doctors worldwide for medical consults -- for free.

HealthTap has done just that. The mobile healthcare technology company has assembled a network of more than 50,000 physicians across the globe and planted their services into a free mobile app (free to download and to use). Patients log into the system, type in a question and receive an answer within a few hours, all at no charge.

So how is this all free? What's the catch?

"We have big investors," HealthTap CEO Ron Gutman said. "Eventually we will commercialize. For now, we're focused on growing the user base. We're subscribing to the Silicon Valley model that says first build a great product, then grow the user base, then monetize."

[ Looking to get your patients more involved in their own care? See Patient Engagement: How To Do It Right. ]

HealthTap is free to sign up for and free to download. It has no advertisements. Inside the app, almost all of its services and features can be accessed for free, but there are charges for deeper engagement with doctors and quicker service: To ask a specific doctor a follow-up question costs $9.99; to get an expedited answer to a question costs 99 cents; and to ask a question longer than 150 characters costs 99 cents.

The app isn't meant to replace doctors' visits, but rather to facilitate communication between those visits. It started out as an app serving pregnant women and new moms and has grown to include 137 specialties.

If anything, HealthTap raises awareness about the digital health options available to consumers, helping to increase patient engagement and produce better outcomes.

The app is free, and that's unusual considering its network's scope. But there are limitations -- doctors participate for free, answering questions about things like medication side effects, sleeping troubles and weight loss challenges. They can't prescribe medications or order tests, and there's no way to send pictures or video, which Gutman said may be available at a future date.

HealthTap is also rolling out TalkToDocs, a voice-controlled iteration of its original app that allows patients to dictate their questions instead of typing them.

"Right now you have WebMD, CVS Minute Clinics, doctor's visits and emergency rooms," said Paul Sonnier, co-head of digital strategy at Popper and Co., a healthcare consulting firm. "HealthTap fits into a segment where it's really empowering consumers and taking advantage of the digital revolution. We all look to the Internet to solve our problems immediately. In that regard, they've very precisely identified this need and fulfilled it."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Moderator
10/30/2013 | 8:33:49 PM
re: HealthTap Lets You Ask The Doctor
Not one that I would recommend at all and I'm a blogger that looks at everything and if this start up is so cheap they can't spend a few hundred dollars advertising, well that tells you about the strength of ht company with their rather juvenile marketing with me and I have everyone a fair chance. Nobody's has the absolute cat's meow and again I look at all the apps and sites selling data and most under this mHeatlh article I wrote about all fall into that category and many of those have little concern for accuracy but rather just put data and profiles out there to make money. Sound to me like the Silicon Valley of selling data and they are not the first and won't be the last to come with this idea have seen a few over the last couple of years.
Study Proposes 5 Primary Traits of Innovation Leaders
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/8/2019
Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Data Scientists and Data Analysts
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/5/2019
10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/1/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
Flash Poll