Instead of calling your doctor's office and waiting on hold, would you rather send a text instead?
Austin-based health care startup Medici is betting that you would. The company is launching a mobile app to connect patients with their physicians by phone between scheduled appointments.
Using the app, you can text a doctor, veterinarian or therapist and receive medical consultations, e-prescriptions and referrals, said Medici founder and CEO Clinton Phillips.
"Right now, to have a conversation with a doctor, patients have to schedule, drive, park, fill out paperwork, sit in a waiting room and speak to a nurse," he said. "It's time-consuming for both sides."
Using the app, which is compliant with HIPAA federal privacy regulations, patients can also share photos and video, and see their entire consultation history in one place.
After downloading the free app from the Apple App Store, Google Play or the Medici website, patients pay a fee that is equivalent to a co-pay, typically $25 to $50, for a 10 minute consultation. Patients can pay with a health savings account or a credit card. Medici takes a transaction fee, and the remainder goes to the doctor.
"Doctors have been very receptive. They're getting texts, they're getting calls, and nurses are popping into their offices 50 times a day," Phillips said. "Here we have a platform that allows them to get paid. We are currently working with a few health systems that will put on thousands of doctors over the next six to 12 months."
Phillips previously founded two startups, Houston-based 2nd.MD, which provides direct access via video and phone to research doctors in the U.S., and Aspen Back & Body, a Colorado-based clinic focused on non-surgical rehab for back problems that was acquired in 2009.
Medici has 25 employees, and its Austin team works out of the WeWork co-working space downtown. The company is backed by $8 million in seed money from six undisclosed private investors, Phillips said.
Medici is working with 50 doctors in Texas, mostly in Austin, and 50 doctors across the country. After expanding in Texas, the plan is to branch out nationwide, he said.