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With the future uncertain for many industries due to the new coronavirus, telehealth continues to buck the trend and is enjoying its time in the sun. Telehealth startup, Medici has become the latest company to close a successful fundraising, resulting in $24 million in Series B financing.
The company’s current investors such as Barry Sternlicht of Starwood Capital Group, Kenneth Griffin of Citadel, Nathan Kirsh of the Kirsh Group, Howard Jenkins of Publix, and Tom Meredith, formerly of Dell, participated in the financing round. Since its founding, Medici has raised $70 million in financing.
Medici, which offers a HIPAA-compliant virtual healthcare platform for over 25,000 healthcare providers and their patients to securely communicate via text, voice and video chat, said it will use the money to accelerate its growth and the impact it has on its approach to patient care, especially now when there is the coronavirus outbreak but also in the future with its unknown protocols for best health practices.
The startup says it has experienced a massive increase in patient registrations and consultations as more people investigate telehealth options to meet their healthcare needs in light of COVID-19. To put this into context, Medici said that between February and April of this year, it had witnessed a 1,409 percent increase in patient registrations. Its advantage compared to competitors, Medici said, was that it allowed patients to connect with their own doctors rather than strangers.
To further illustrate its growth, in April alone, the Austin, Texas-based Medici reportedly witnessed 120,000 consults on its platform, 15 times more than in April 2019. Furthermore, usage and revenue were both up 400 percent in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of last year.
Clint Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Medici, explained that unlike Zoom or FaceTime, Medici allowed patients to text, ePrescribe, refer, group chat, bill, translate, triage and keep their mobile number private. In addition, physicians are given $1 million in liability insurance.
In a blogpost, Jennifer Crawford, general counsel for Medici, said they were driven by a desire to change the antiquated way healthcare is delivered today. “We have the tools, people and product to have a major impact on the marketplace with a software platform that’s effortless to use and has many capabilities.”
On the Series B capital infusion, Phillips said: “We are thrilled to have remarkable investors who really want to see lives and healthcare transformed. This investment will allow us to invest further into our team and technology to truly impact global healthcare.”
Barry Sternlicht of Starwood Capital Group, said: “We’re very excited to be a part of the continued growth of Medici. We feel Medici is exceptionally well-positioned to transform healthcare and be a household name. We anticipate this funding will help spearhead the continued innovation and commitment that Medici has for recreating the doctor-patient relationship.”
Telehealth has probably been the health industry’s biggest beneficiary of global lockdowns and social distancing protocols. It is projected that virtual health consultations are going to top 1 billion this year.
Medici also said that the global telemedicine market was expected to grow to $130.5 billion by 2025, a massive increase from the estimated $38.3 billion valuation last year.
In addition to the stay-at-home orders and the need for social distancing, the spike in telehealth visits has also been driven by the federal government’s expansion of Medicare telehealth coverage during the coronavirus crisis. Since early March, Medicare — administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) — has been temporarily paying clinicians to provide telehealth services to beneficiaries across the entire country.
Individual states have acted as a launchpad for the surge in telehealth visits. For example, in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order relaxing rules on telehealth for Medicaid and private insurers in an effort to help those affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The terms of the executive order say telehealth services would be fully reimbursed by insurers just as if the patient had visited a doctor’s office. The expansion of telehealth services was not limited to the coronavirus pandemic only but includes other health care services such as for mental health and substance abuse treatment.