Hillel's Tech Corner: Med & Beyond: Because it’s about time

We’ve already discussed online platforms for therapists. What about physicians? Will we be able to remotely see expert physicians and make the whole process more efficient?

Med & Beyond (photo credit: Courtesy)
Med & Beyond
(photo credit: Courtesy)
I just finished having lunch with an old friend, and just like every other meeting, the question came up, “So what do you think will happen? Will we go back to normal or is this the new normal?” Don’t deny it, you’ve had that conversation at least once.
The consensus seems to be that remote work, or more accurately, remote everything, is now a thing and will remain a thing indefinitely. This begs the question: What about healthcare?
I mean, imagine the day after COVID. Will we still be expected to wait for an available slot, make an appointment, go to the doctor’s office, wait in line, and hope the doctor gives you the right diagnosis so you don’t have to repeat the whole process? Something tells me those days are over.
We’ve already discussed online platforms for therapists. What about physicians? Will we be able to remotely see expert physicians and make the whole process more efficient?
A company called Med & Beyond believes we will be, and that remote medicine is here to stay.
I heard about this company from my friend Dr. David Zlotnick, who is a co-founder and chief medical officer of Med & Beyond, as well as the medical director of Terem, an emergency medicine service spread throughout the country.
Dr. Zlotnick’s two hats are not coincidental. Med & Beyond signed a strategic partnership with Terem, which gives it access to unparalleled medical data that the company uses to improve its artificial-intelligence algorithm and make sure that patients are getting the best possible treatment.
Parenthetically, as a marketing guy, I have to give a shout-out to the company’s brilliant tagline: “The doctor can see you now.” Really love it.
The company describes itself as follows: “Med & Beyond is an online, membership-based primary care service that offers the highest-quality treatment available at the lowest price possible, 24/7.”
Med & Beyond was founded in March 2020 with the goal to make healthcare affordable to everyone, including the uninsured or under-insured in the US. It is important to mention that uninsured in the US includes freelancers and anyone benefiting from the gig Economy.
So how low is the price? You pay a monthly membership of $6.25 (billed annually) and the first doctor visit is free. Any additional visit will cost $34.95 per doctor’s visit. A quick glance at the market will reveal that they’re priced at less than half the competition.
Med & Beyond offers iPhone and Android apps and can help patients with things like prescription refills, flu-like symptoms, muscle sprains, infections and much more.
The company’s data is based on millions of patients and more than 10 million physician visits.
Once you download the app, it will ask you some questions and create a medical profile for the doctor, at which point you video conference with the physician to get your treatment.
In addition to Dr. Zlotnick, the other co-founders of Med & Beyond are CEO Avihai Sodri, active chairman Ben Enosh, and CTO Carine-Belle Feder.
The co-founders each bring extensive experience of many years to the table. Ben has founded multiple successful companies, including Cyota, which he founded with Naftali Bennett and eventually sold. Carine-Bell graduated from the 8200 intelligence unit in the IDF and brought that technical experience to the healthcare space when founding Med & Beyond. Avihai is a past HMO executive with broad experience in entrepreneurship in the healthcare and insurance industries.
THE COMPANY is launching the service city by city and is now operational in New York, Michigan and New Jersey, and the company is adding states each month, with the goal being availability across the entire USA by April.
Since I mentioned marketing before, I will say that their site needs some work, and in my opinion, so does the company name, but that’s just my opinion. A little birdie told me to expect an entire rebranding in the near future.
What makes this company unique is that it combines a chatbot, which collects the necessary medical information of the patient, along with a video chat feature with the physician to ensure professional and effective medical care.
Med & Beyond is starting with acute and primary care, but the goal is to build a true first of its kind digital HMO. According to recent studies, nearly one-third of Americans don’t have adequate health coverage. That is a wild statistic that must change.
The company has raised $3.5 million of initial capital from a group of angel investors and venture capitalists, and is already looking toward its next round of financing.
With more than 30 doctors on payroll, Med & Beyond is preparing itself for scale. Over 25,000 patients have used the company’s services to date, and the goal is to serve more than five million users in the next four years.
The components of the system have already been tested in Israel. The chatbot is in use at all of Terem locations, and tens of thousands of patients have already used it.
The electronic medical record (EMR) and tele-medicine video component was launched in a refugee clinic in Israel. That provided after-hours urgent care and a platform for specialists including psychiatrists and endocrinologists to follow their patients after the volunteer clinic was shut down due to the pandemic.
In the US, the system is combined into an integrated platform. The patient uses the app and the doctor uses the EMR component.
Using the bot in Terem allows the team to use data science to make the bot smarter through a reinforced learning cycle. Terem data is unique in that it is structured data that was built over the last decade, unlike most data, where you have to sift through many words of unstructured information to achieve the same results.
A year ago, it would have been hard to imagine a world in which we receive top medical treatment remotely using our smartphones, but thanks to COVID, that has become a reality. And to tell you the truth, I see it as a silver lining that so many things have gone remote.
If Med & Beyond has its way, which it looks like it might, the totally inefficient process of seeing a doctor will disappear as quickly as we all hope COVID one day will, once vaccines are universally available.