December 19, 2014
Studies from the American Medical Association show that roughly 1 billion doctor visits occur each year in the United States, and of those, 70 percent are unnecessary and could be avoided by consulting with a physician by phone, email or text. First Opinion has made it their mission to provide users remote personal health consultations from dedicated physicians to help solve this industry pain point.
To that end, First Opinion today announced that they have successfully closed a Series A funding round, bringing in $6 million in total. The participating investors included Polaris Partners, True Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Scrum Ventures, and Monashees Capital. In addition to this funding round, First Opinion has raised $2.6 million in seed funding, bringing their total investment amount to $8.6 million.
“It’s clear that First Opinion is addressing a real problem in the healthcare industry involving the overutilization of doctor office visits,” says Brian Chee, managing partner at Polaris Partners, who will join First Opinion as a member of the board of directors. “We invested in this company because it has the power to transform an ineffective process for the better, by reducing both doctor patient loads and out of pocket expenditures for patients who seek first to consult with a physician on First Opinion.”
First Opinion offers an alternative to the time and cost associated with unnecessary visits by offering users 24-hour access to trained physicians via text messaging. Users text health-related questions – and even photos – to a doctor in First Opinion’s network and can receive a response in five minutes or less.
Users are paired with a primary doctor who provides personalized and qualified consultations that help decide if a trip to the doctor’s office is actually warranted. Every time a user posts to First Opinion they’re paired with the same doctor to grow trust over time.
And to date First Opinion has cultivated a global network of doctors across specialties like family medicine, dermatology, pediatrics, diabetes care, emergency medicine, radiology, and genetics. In the last 12 months, approximately 100,000 healthcare consultations have been conducted through the app.
“First Opinion is so much more than a symptom checker search engine; we are connecting users with a single, qualified physician who can make informed recommendations and opinions based on individual circumstances,” says McKay Thomas, co-founder and CEO of First Opinion. “We’re really focused on decentralizing and distributing access to trained physicians who can provide expert guidance combined with a comforting bedside manner. This Series A funding will allow us to expand our network of doctors, grow internal infrastructures and focus on fine tuning our simple but proven approach to resolving complex healthcare issues.”
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